The Global Power Barometer (GPB) that Denver Research Group, Inc. (DRGI) produces for PostGlobal and the Washington Post tracks the question "Which nations, ideologies and/or movements are most powerful (most successful) in moving global opinion and events in directions they desire?" The GPB is part of a family of similar charts that help DRGI clients track critical issues 24/7 with only a quick glance while allowing a drill-down to supporting data.
Comments on Methodology
A general description of the GPB methodology is contained on the GPB PostGlobal website (click on GPB Background under the chart). This discussion provides a bit more detail. The reader should review the GPB website.
The GPB is based upon proprietary algorithms, analysis systems and technologies that power DRGI's range of products. These systems are "computer-assisted human systems" -- not "computer systems." The state of even the most advanced linguistic algorithms is not such (and won't be such for several years) that they can measure human or cultural tones with sufficient accuracy to allow something like the GPB to be fully automated. Humans and computers need to be used together calculate these measurements. The GPB does not project trends as DRGI's other systems do. Rather, the GPB tracks Global Thought with a lag of 24-36 hours. This lag is important because global views of an event or issue typically do not solidify in a measurable way for at least 24 hours after the event.
The data sources that power the GPB are broad in scope and diversity, ranging from articles to studies to books. Each of these is weighted and has a different impact on the icon positions. The articles provided with the GPB are a small sample designed simply to give the reader a general idea of the thoughts and analyses driving the icon positions.
There are two caveats to the GPB that warrant mentioning. First and perhaps most important, as stated on the GPB site, these types of measures can only be considered an educated guess. Humans and human events are complex; models of the extraordinary interactions of global events make weather models look simple (and accurate). So, the reader is urged not to treat the GPB icons as gospel. That said, the charts can provide a very reasonable first glimpse at how the world is reacting to an event or issue. By letting the GPB provide a general direction, the reader using his or her own sources and concepts can speed analysis and hopefully come up with educated conclusions more quickly and efficiently.
Second, while DRGI measures foreign language sources in many of its projects, only English language articles are used for the GPB. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is the resource level required to obtain translations that are sufficiently correct linguistically and culturally to make them valid for GPB use. Relative to the GPB, which measures both global opinion and the relationship of actions to events but does not seek to find small events or conceptual nuances, this weakness is not crippling. Indeed, for Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and North America coverage in English is sufficiently comprehensive, though some of the more extreme elements may be missed. South America represents a research problem because English language coverage is sparse. That said, much of South American coverage of international events comes from news agencies and services which also publish in English. The primary weakness here is when events affecting the world occur wholly in Latin or South America. Although here also, agency coverage can provide 80% or more of the value.
The GPB Management Team
Charles McLean, President & CEO of DRGI, leads the GPB management team. Educated in mathematics and economics at Tufts University, Mr. McLean has been involved in strategic planning for political, policy, natural resource and environmental issues for more than 3 decades. He specializes in the analysis of highly complex political situations whether they relate to products, conflict situations, human resource issues or foreign affairs. For public and private sector clients, Mr. McLean has managed projects whose combined value exceeds $75 billion.
Victoria Kataoka Rebuffet, Vice President of DRGI, leads the tonal measurement segment of the GPB team. Ms. Kataoka Rebuffet holds degrees from Georgetown and the Sorbonne. She divides her time between the United States, Europe and Central America. Ms. Kataoka Rebuffet has spent more than a decade working in international development and diplomacy for the United Nations as a program specialist on Youth in the Middle East and as an international development consultant to the Middle East, Mediterranean Basin and Africa. She is proficient in French, Arabic and Greek.
Christopher Herbert, DRGI's Director of Research, holds a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a master's in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, where he specialized in colonial histories of North Africa. His current scholarly interests relate to the Middle East and its political, cultural and economic relationships with the United States. Mr. Herbert has lived in Tunisia and Egypt. He is an accomplished opera singer who has performed in theaters across the US. He is proficient in Arabic, French and Italian.
Nick Nicholson, DRGI's Chief Information Officer, leads all technical aspects of the GPB systems. Educated in computer science and accounting at the University of Utah, Mr. Nicholson has been involved in software development for electronic global distribution systems since the mid 1970's. He was an early Applications Solutions Provider with the advent of the Internet, and is currently the Technology Chair for a variety of non-profits involved with emerging technologies.