Posted by: nativeiowan | October 29, 2018

2018 v10.the illusion of poverty

One of the things I find as I travel the USofA is a pervading sense or feeling of poverty. Many, many of the people I interact with verbally claim a financial inability or lack in their lives which feeds a fire of self-need, want, and desire. And unhappiness.

A quick check offers this: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/us-census-median-income-2017-9?r=US&IR=T

Between 2015 and 2016, US median household income rose 3.2% from $US57,230 to $US59,039, according to a new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday.

It’s now the highest income year on record, beating the previous high of $US58,655 in 1999 (all numbers are adjusted for inflation).

The US poverty rate simultaneously declined about 1% to 12.7%, returning to nearly the same level as in 2007, prior to the recession. In total, 2.5 million fewer people were in poverty in 2016 than in 2015.

All good news, but…

This sense of lack, want, need, poverty has led us to what I feel is an unreasoned attack on the social classes that “HAVE”. The social classes that make more, have more, spend more, want less.

An attack on the “1%” of life that “HAVE”, by those who also have but not as much.

My point is this… If you are living in the USofA you already live in the “land of plenty”. You are already part of that % of the planet that “has more”. You already have more, much more than many on the planet we can compare with.

For a quick comparison I go to the Solomons…  https://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Solomon-Islands-INCOME.html

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2001 the Solomon Islands’ gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $800 million. The per capita GDP was estimated at $1,700. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at -10%. The average inflation rate in 2001 was 7.9%. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 42% of GDP, industry 11%, and services 47%. aid receipts amounted to about $137 per capita and accounted for approximately 22% of the gross national income (GNI).

Read more: https://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Solomon-Islands-INCOME.html#ixzz5VB2B5VOh

OK, I know comparing the US with the Solos is not an equitable comparison. But I wish to note a GDP in the USA of 59.5k vs 1.7k$ in the Solos.

Quick comparisons rarely work…

But my discussion is not about income or GDP. It’s about a sense of want, a financial fear, an inarticulate need. A pervading sense of “poverty”.

Lets check the definition of poverty…

poverty
/ˈpɒvəti/
noun
  1. 1.
    the state of being extremely poor.
    “thousands of families are living in abject poverty”
    synonyms: penurydestitutionindigence, pennilessness, privationdeprivationimpoverishment, neediness, needwanthardship, impecuniousness, impecuniosity, hand-to-mouth existence, beggary, pauperism, straitened circumstances, bankruptcyinsolvency;More

  2. 2.
    the state of being inferior in quality or insufficient in amount.
    “the poverty of her imagination”
    synonyms: scarcitydeficiencydearthshortagepaucityinsufficiencyinadequacyabsencelackwantdeficitmeagreness, limitedness, restrictedness, sparseness, sparsity;More

     

    OK, not sure that helped a whole lot. I am going to think that “poverty” is as much a state of mind as it is a state of financial resources.

    In 2008, at the height of the “Global Financial Collapse” I listed to a radio programme where the fact that many billionaires had been reduced to being millionaires was a big, big deal. Of course my rock-had heart bled and cried for those poor billionaires who were reduced to millionaire status.

    Whats the difference between a million and a billion?

    a trillion is a thousand billion and a billion is a thousand million. But I didn’t really understand what that means. … It would take almost 12 days for a million seconds to elapse and 31.7 years for a billion seconds. Therefore, a trillion seconds would amount to no less than 31,709.8 years.

    The answer is that there is a big, big difference between a million and a billion and a trillion. As much of a difference as between 59.5k$ and 1.7k$. Where are we now?

    Comparatively one would quickly assume the US is NOT poor at all.

     

    Heres the list:

    Country Average income
    annually   Monthly
    1 Monaco 186,080 $ 15,507 $
    2 Liechtenstein 116,300 $ 9,692 $
    3 Bermuda 106,140 $ 8,845 $
    4 Switzerland 80,560 $ 6,713 $
    5 Norway 75,990 $ 6,333 $
    6 Luxembourg 70,260 $ 5,855 $
    7 Macao 65,130 $ 5,428 $
    8 Iceland 60,830 $ 5,069 $
    9 United States 58,270 $ 4,856 $
    10 Ireland 55,290 $ 4,608 $
    11 Denmark 55,220 $ 4,602 $
    12 Singapore 54,530 $ 4,544 $
    13 Sweden 52,590 $ 4,383 $
    14 Australia 51,360 $ 4,280 $
    15 Hong Kong 46,310 $ 3,859 $
    16 Netherlands 46,180 $ 3,848 $
    17 Austria 45,440 $ 3,787 $
    18 Finland 44,580 $ 3,715 $
    19 Germany 43,490 $ 3,624 $
    20 Canada 42,870 $ 3,573 $
    21 Belgium 41,790 $ 3,483 $
    22 United Kingdom 40,530 $ 3,378 $
    23 United Arab Emirates 39,130 $ 3,261 $
    24 New Zealand 38,970 $ 3,248 $
    25 Japan 38,550 $ 3,213 $
    26 France 37,970 $ 3,164 $
    27 Israel 37,270 $ 3,106 $
    28 Italy 31,020 $ 2,585 $
    29 South Korea 28,380 $ 2,365 $
    30 Spain 27,180 $ 2,265 $
    31 Saudi Arabia 20,080 $ 1,673 $
    32 Portugal 19,820 $ 1,652 $
    33 Czech Republic 18,160 $ 1,513 $
    34 Greece 18,090 $ 1,508 $
    35 Chile 13,610 $ 1,134 $
    36 Argentina 13,040 $ 1,087 $
    37 Hungary 12,870 $ 1,073 $
    38 Venezuela 12,780 $ 1,065 $
    39 Poland 12,710 $ 1,059 $
    40 Croatia 12,430 $ 1,036 $
    41 Costa Rica 11,040 $ 920 $
    42 Turkey 10,930 $ 911 $
    43 Romania 9,970 $ 831 $
    44 Malaysia 9,650 $ 804 $
    45 Russia 9,230 $ 769 $
    46 China 8,690 $ 724 $
    47 Mexico 8,610 $ 718 $
    48 Brazil 8,580 $ 715 $
    49 Kazakhstan 7,890 $ 658 $
    50 Bulgaria 7,760 $ 647 $
    51 Equatorial Guinea 7,060 $ 588 $
    52 Cuba 6,570 $ 548 $
    53 Thailand 5,960 $ 497 $
    54 Colombia 5,830 $ 486 $
    55 South Africa 5,430 $ 453 $
    56 Iran 5,400 $ 450 $
    57 Serbia 5,180 $ 432 $
    58 Bosnia and Herzegovina 4,940 $ 412 $
    59 Albania 4,320 $ 360 $
    60 Kosovo 3,890 $ 324 $
    61 Sri Lanka 3,840 $ 320 $
    62 Philippines 3,660 $ 305 $
    63 Indonesia 3,540 $ 295 $
    64 Egypt 3,010 $ 251 $
    65 Morocco 2,860 $ 238 $
    66 Ukraine 2,390 $ 199 $
    67 Vietnam 2,170 $ 181 $
    68 Nigeria 2,080 $ 173 $
    69 Syria 1,840 $ 153 $
    70 India 1,820 $ 152 $
    71 Pakistan 1,580 $ 132 $
    72 Ghana 1,490 $ 124 $
    73 Bangladesh 1,470 $ 123 $
    74 Kenya 1,440 $ 120 $
    75 Ethiopia 740 $ 62 $
    76 Afghanistan 570 $ 48 $
    77 Democratic Republic of the Congo 450 $ 38 $
    78 Madagascar 400 $ 33 $

    So, why this sense of poverty I come across in the USofA?

    Can anyone help me?

    I am quick to assume that the sense of need comes from a sense of want. A want for newer and better things… watches, cars, phones, computers, TVs, et al.

    A barefoot man may want for a pair of shoes, while a man with many pairs of shoes is wanting for something better, newer? Is that it?

    And does the vilification of the “1%” who have come from nothing more than desire? Covetousness? Do we really want the man with many pairs of shoes to give his unneeded pairs away, or do we too want many pairs of our own?

    I’ll keep working on this and welcome any help that may be out there to understand where we all are here.

    Smiles

     


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