Envy is the Color of Money

Sure, I envy rich people. Most of us do, if we’re honest. But usually I don’t begrudge them their wealth. I can admire their accomplishments, aspire to be like them, or just enjoy the fact that if it weren’t for rich people giving parties & hiring bands, most musicians I know would be even more under-employed. (What’s the difference between a musician and a savings bond? The savings bond eventually matures and makes money. Cue rim-shot.) Read More Envy is the Color of Money

Let’s Talk About Poverty

You may or may not have heard of Linda Walther Tirado. Her essay, “Why I make Terrible Decisions or Poverty Thoughts,” was published by various Internet outlets and gained a lot of attention. Early media pieces focused on Tirado’s piece as giving a voice to the working poor. Tirado had two GoFundMe accounts: one set up by someone who wanted to fund her dental work and another (set up by Tirado herself) to fund her to write a book form of “Poverty Thoughts.” As the donations continued to climb, the conversation shifted from poverty in America to Tirado’s authenticity as a voice of that poverty. Examination of her past, aided by some unclear tense in her essay, turned the momentum of the essay onto her personally. It is deeply troubling but also fascinating to look at some of the accusations aimed at Tirado—she could not be in poverty because she writes well, has access to the Internet, had music lessons as a child, and traveled to Europe. These claims demonstrate the varied and conflicting ways people understand poverty or, more accurately, that many people simply don’t understand poverty. Read More Let’s Talk About Poverty

Fitting In With The Cool Crowd

The first time I was asked to hang out with the most popular girl in our sixth grade class, I remember feeling a sense of rush and excitement. A short brown girl with thick hair hovering above my shoulders, breasts that developed too quickly for an 11-year-old, shadows of acne spread across my cheeks and braces with rainbow-colored bands — I was a walking disaster. I was also literally a clumsy mess despite the years of dance training I had up until that point. So when, let’s call her Hailey, asked me to come hang out at her table during lunch, I was stricken with delight. Read More Fitting In With The Cool Crowd

Being a TCK: Privilege

It wasn’t until I recently hung out with some fellow TCKs that I realized that this topic, although very uncomfortable to discuss, ought to be brought up. As much as TCKs can relate to the cultures in which they grow up – the ones that aren’t their “home” cultures – that does not make them truly a part of that culture, especially if they carry privilege with them. Read More Being a TCK: Privilege

Crosspost: Wealth and Power in Perspective

[pullquote]The world’s four richest citizens — Carlos Slim, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mukesh Ambani — have more in common with each other than they do with the bottom strata of their respective countries. Yes, they do handle their wealth differently. Gates and Buffett are giving most of it away, Ambani just built the world’s most expensive house, and Slim is somewhere in the middle. But all four can count on their home governments to take care of their needs first. Preserving that kind of social hierarchy is an unwritten assumption in deciding which solutions to the world’s problems arrive on the table and which do not. [/pullquote](Source)

Terrifying Fact of the Day.

The four richest men share a combined wealth bigger than that of the 57 poorest countries together.

Just to give an idea of the magnitude, I checked the Wikipedia page for the index of poorest countries. To measure this wealth, I used the gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita, that is, the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year divided by the average (or mid-year) population for the same year. To put it in layman terms, this index tells us the total money value of all final goods and services that are produced in an economy over a period of time.

This is the list of the 20 poorest ones (by decreasing order; meaning Zimbabwe is the poorest in the list), together with the population figures in millions. This gives us a combined population of 339.8 million people. I do not have the time to go through all 57 countries, but I believe this shortened list gives a good idea. The combined wealth of this four men, equals the combined production of these countries in a given year (population figures in millions next to each country):

  • Comoros 0.8
  • Madagascar 20.6
  • Guinea 10
  • Tokelau 1.4
  • Ethiopia 85.2
  • Malawi 15
  • Mozambique 22.8
  • Sierra Leone 6.4
  • Togo 6.6
  • Rwanda 10.7
  • Afghanistan 28.3
  • Central African Republic 4.4
  • Eritrea 5.2
  • Niger 15.3
  • Guinea-Bissau 1.6
  • Somalia 9.3
  • Liberia 3.9
  • Burundi 8.9
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the     70.9
  • Zimbabwe 12.5

Now, I would love for someone to come and tell me that privilege, as a concept to analyze socioeconomic facts and trends, does not exist.

A Peek at the Latest Census Data

The United States Census Bureau has just released the results of its American Community Survey (not to be confused with the 2010 Census, the results of which won’t be released until a later date). Needless to say, America’s community news outlets are having a field day pulling relevant information about their region: who has the highest home values? Who has the most diversity? Who has the highest income? Let’s take a looky-loo at the results. Read More A Peek at the Latest Census Data