Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
We have all come to hear regularly that so many million are rising above the poverty line. What does this really mean?
Two years ago, I read a book by Hans Rosling called Factfulness. It professes to show how the world is a lot better today than it has ever been. Bill Gates heavily recommended this book. 🙄
Hans takes a lot of trouble to find data that shows that the world is getting better every moment we breathe. One of the points that he brandishes is how many people have been pulled out of poverty over the last century alone.
And then I came across this tweet by a guy in whose country, it would be impossible to get even a cup of Americano for $1.25. A figure which is conveniently hidden in the heading of the graph.
I would like to find out if Erik or for that matter Hans or Bill would like to live the $1.25 a day lifestyle. I am sure if they hung themselves today, the electricity consumed by their households during that day would cost more than $1.25.
It is easy to argue that a lot of people are rising out of poverty when you artificially set the poverty line at such a low figure.
Find one person in any country who would be willing to put in an entire day’s work for $1.25. I am sure begging would be easier and would pay better.
In the US, the Poverty line is defined as $12,760 per year. That translates to $35 a day roughly. The arrogance to assume that the rest of the world should live at 1/20th that figure. Not to mention - you would be living out of a car if you made $12,760 a year in the US.
It would be hard if not impossible to live alone in any of the big cities in the US at $35 a day; if you happened to have a family you are finished.
But this relentless charade of books and articles about how many people have risen above the poverty line will keep appearing. It is important to make people feel like some world-changing good is happening. In the 1700s people of France realised that there were a select few getting away with all of the money and the rest were just suffering; they turned Place de la Concorde into ‘Chop-chop square’ and a new order was born.
The people pushing this rubbish have too much to lose. They will go to any lengths to keep it from happening.
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What we think, we become ~ Buddha