Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thinking Out of the Box 6

Double Four for GMA

It seems ominous that in the Japanese language, and probably the Chinese Kanji, number 4 is regarded as an unlucky number, like what 13 is in the Western Hemisphere. It means shi or death. Of course, I do not intend to wish bad luck for Madam President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

What I intend to illustrate is the procedure on how Forbes came up with the President's ranking based on what I read in the website and my little understanding of statistics.

In simple terms, her ranking came into being based on how many times she was mentioned in the press and how much money she controlled. Forbes assigned numbers to each score and probably summed them up to obtain her final score. This final score was then be compared to all the other leaders of the world. That is how she obtained her ranking.

All things being equal with her, when someone ahead of her falls, GMA's ranking would go up. Conversely, all things being equal again, when someone below her performs good, her ranking would go down.

Understandably, regardless of public perception, a Head of a State will always get full media coverage almost everyday. In addition, a country's gross domestic product is in his or her domain. That is why they are called leaders.

GMA's image may not be popular to some people but it has nothing to do with Forbes ranking method. We have to be very careful in analyzing and interpreting statistical data. A wrong assumption or association may lead to tragic conclusions.

In my opinion, we are not supposed to find the ranking informative or helpful. We are supposed to find it interesting.

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