Half of the world's 1% are Americans
We're better off than we thought. Even the poorest Americans are doing better than 68% of the world's population.
Who are the world's richest people, the 1% of the planet? Chances are you are one of them.
That's true because it takes just $34,000 in after-tax annual income per person to qualify for the world's 1%, Annalyn Censky explained on CNNMoney. Thus, a family of four would need to earn $136,000 to make the cut.
The other world 1%-ers are in Germany (4 million); France, Italy and England (3 million each); Canada, Korea, Japan and Brazil (2 million each), and assorted other countries. Strangely enough, Milanovic's book says, "There is nobody from Africa, China, India, or from East Europe or Russia (in statistically significant numbers, of course)." Post continues below.
Hardly any in China and India? What about both countries' rapidly growing middle class? "This is because these emerging economies, whose citizens are acquiring wealth rapidly, started so far below the economies of developed countries that they still have a ways to go to enter the world's richest," Libby Kane wrote at LearnVest.
In fact, if "middle class" were defined as people with the world's median income, that would be $1,225 per person a year -- "adjusted to account for different costs of living across the globe," Censky wrote.
On The New York Times' Economix blog, Catherine Rampell wrote about Milanovic's findings about the vast wealth gap across the Earth:
... the typical person in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution is still richer than 68 percent of the world's inhabitants. … America's poorest are, as a group, about as rich as India's richest.
Kind of blows your mind, right?Right. So does that mean the Occupy movement is tilting at windmills? Not really. The gap between the richest and everyone else within the U.S. and other countries is growing. The Huffington Post said:
A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that, since the mid-1980s, income inequality has increased by 77 percent in the 22 countries surveyed. In these countries, the average income of the richest 10 percent of the population is nine times that of the poorest.
Remember, it takes $506,000 in annual household income to qualify for the U.S. 1%. (Hat tip to The Atlantic for pointing us to a Wall Street Journal calculator so you can figure out what percentage you're in.)
However, others in the world might think we protest too much, based on Milanovic's findings. Dino Grandoni of The Atlantic wrote:
Americans Occupiers in Zuccotti Park made famous phrases like "the 1 percent" to protest wealth disparity within the U.S. -- but the rest of the world can throw that term right back at us.
More on MSN Money:
I too get sick of the comparisons of working poor, poor, and even middleclass Americans vs. other third world countries. That is why they are called third world countries--their living standards and what they live in and utilize to live is completely different from ours. "In fact, if "middle class" were defined as people with the world's median income, that would be $1,225 per person a year -- "adjusted to account for different costs of living across the globe," Censky wrote." Adjusted to represent the third world countries indeed...could one single American survive on this amount per year anywhere in this country??? That amount would barely scrape a month.
People who argue that the poor here should stop complaining because they are rich compared to the poor of other countries really need to wake up. We don't live squattor central in dilapitated tents here--that is illegal. You can't just park a tent in the mountains either without paying daily "rent". You can't go hunt your dinner without a license and only at certain times of the year with specific allowed weapons to hunt with. Try not sending your child to school and send them off to work instead--you would be in jail. There may be some "conveniences" even the poor have here vs other countries--there are homeless shelters, yet they do overflow and some homeless freeze to death every winter. There are foodbanks, foodstamps, and soup kitchens here--so I could agree that food is a little more available here vs other countries where real starvation is occuring. As far as living conditions, we cannot use a bucket to pee in and have no plumbing, we cannot have a small shed to live in that does not have a heating system, we also cannot live in a shed without electricity. I know this because my family of four lived in a storage shed without all of the above--we couldn't afford rent and were bankrupt. If anyone would have reported us to Social Services--they would have taken our kids away rather than help us. We were denied housing assistance solely because of our credit reports not because we made too much income. We avoided foodstamps and the foodbank because we couldn't explain how we were living and why there were no utility bills in our names. Sure we could have tried to get into a family shelter--but they all have waiting lists and when you do get in, the time limits for a stay may be anywhere from 3 days to 30 days at best. Even 30 days doesn't give you the time you need to get into an apartment or anything else..so then you end up right back on the street. So we chose to live in an uninsulated shed with a small propane tank with a stove-top burner sized heater for us to huddle around. Yes, we pee'd in a bucket and buried it. Everyday we shared one generic 33 cent can of Spaghetti O's a day between the four of us. We used an outside faucet to get water for sponge bathing out of a TupperWare bowl--it was freezing even in the Summer. And--we were working opposite hours to avoid childcare! Minimum wage jobs--no health insurance, bills we couldn't drop in bankruptcy, a car that broke down everyother week that took money out of both our paychecks and made us miss work plus the cost of repairs. Been there, done it.
Poverty in this country may not be as bad as poverty in a third-world countries...but there is a HUGE difference between our country and others--so there is NO comparison in my opinion!
But we have energy slaves and we need to feed them. That's why it is so expensive to live in America. As the standard of living rises in other countries, ours will fall. Energy is zero sum.
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