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For the privileged few...
September 5, 2003 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Just how rich are you? The worlds 225 richest people have a combined wealth greater than the poorest 2.5 billion people. Where do you fit into the picture? via b3ta
posted by carfilhiot (63 comments total)

 
So when's this trickle down stuff supposed to kick in?
posted by Space Coyote at 4:39 PM on September 5, 2003


This puts things in perspective, as we all sit here and argue about political points of view, every one of us is pretty well off compared to the rest of the world. My salary which isn't dot-com fantastic, but is still pretty good puts me just inside the top 1% of the world (btw, the graph doesn't display properly in mozilla, you have to use IE to see what they intended).
posted by mathowie at 4:42 PM on September 5, 2003


a fiendishly clever way to get people to donate to CARE.
posted by crunchland at 4:45 PM on September 5, 2003


This is cool, although I have one quibble -- your salary will buy more in some parts of your country (or the world, even) than in other parts, and this doesn't take that into account. Quite eye-opening, though.
posted by Tin Man at 4:52 PM on September 5, 2003


a fiendishly clever way to get people to donate to CARE.

mmmm... I don't know about that. After all, "£645 raised so far". Unless the site just launched today, that seems a bit low to me.

Great link, carfilhiot. Thanks for posting this.
posted by anastasiav at 4:54 PM on September 5, 2003


This is cool, although I have one quibble -- your salary will buy more in some parts of your country (or the world, even) than in other parts, and this doesn't take that into account. Quite eye-opening, though.

Indeed. I'm really hoping the boss will keep me on as a telecommuter when I move to NZ; even if I take a paycut I'll still be making out like a bandit. I'm not going to bring it up until about 1mo before departure though. Otherwise I might find myself displaced by a replacement before I'm ready to leave.
posted by ehintz at 4:57 PM on September 5, 2003


Seems they were going for "now don't you just feel aweful!"......

all i had was "Woohoo! Top of the world ma!"

i may have to go masturbate now.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 5:02 PM on September 5, 2003


Wow. Last years wages, well below poverty line for the US, due to a long period of unemployment, still puts me in the top 15%.
posted by weston at 5:04 PM on September 5, 2003


Sure, we're living better than most of the world... but even in our country (well, the USA at any rate) there is incredible disparity.

The difference between poor, wealthy, and super-wealthy is sickening.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:07 PM on September 5, 2003


I can barely afford my rent and utility bills, and I'm still a filthy-rich bastard. Good to know.

He writes on his computer, in an apartment illuminated with light
posted by GriffX at 5:09 PM on September 5, 2003


"For ye have the poor always with you;" Mat. 26:11

Every effort should be made in order to alleviate extreme poverty. The tragedy is that those who can afford it have few if any children, while in the poorer regions of the World people keep reproducing without the means to raise kids.

It must also be taken into account that, except for the severely disabled etc etc, we're all born with resources which can be used to make a living, so it 's an unwise move to somehow imply that the poor can be saved through nickels donated to CARE or whatever.

The solution lies within the scope of individual actions, hard work and forethought. Donations and social policies are very important and often indispensable when it's an urgent matter of life and death, but the at the core of the poverty issue there's a matter of productivity, since inequality of skills and material conditions are not social constructs but facts; some people are born smarter, or have well-off parents, or are lucky enough to be born in rich countries.

Poverty, in the sense of huge disparities between classes, will always be a fact of life, but squalor is something that can be addressed as long as individual responsibilities are taken into account.
posted by 111 at 5:19 PM on September 5, 2003


Just 36 million people between me and Bill Gates, and I still can't afford a house on the west side.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:24 PM on September 5, 2003


Is anybody else besides me kind of curious about how the hourly wage is computed? According to their math, $30k/year works out to the princely sum of $20.83 an hour (1440 hours of work per year). According to my math, assuming a 40 hour work week and a 52-week year (2080 hours), it's something below $14.50 an hour.

Using their idea of what an hourly wage is, I only need a relaxing 27.7 hour work-week to get by. The knowledge that I'm richer than 5,813,259,052 other people isn't quite as sweet if I'm simultaneously being cheated out of 12.3 hours of glorious relaxation and sleep.
posted by contessa at 5:25 PM on September 5, 2003


those of us lucky enough to be born privileged know the score, but it's always important to be reminded just how lucky we are and the sad fate of those who are mostly forgotten. thanks carfilhiot.
posted by poopy at 5:26 PM on September 5, 2003


The tragedy is that those who can afford it have few if any children, while in the poorer regions of the World people keep reproducing without the means to raise kids.

true. yet another reason to support birth-control education and distribution in the third world, and (of course) a concentrated global campaign to push for sexual freedom for all women worldwide. unfortunately, there's not much support in the U.S. for such a program.

also, we need to immediately stop converting people to the strictest forms of Christianity, or any other fucked up religion that rejects birth control.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:28 PM on September 5, 2003


My salary which isn't dot-com fantastic, but is still pretty good puts me just inside the top 1% of the world

mathowie, I just stopped feeling sorry for you and the MeFi server! :-)

On preview, 111, you really don't have a clue about the pressures that exist to reproduce in the less-developed world, nor do you have a clue about just what the resources 'we're all born with' means for most of the world. Furthermore, your entire record of posting on this site is a litany of praise for a socio-political platform that sustains the very demographic and economic trends you appear to critique above.
posted by stonerose at 5:28 PM on September 5, 2003


yeah, their hourly wages are f'ed up. i *wish* i were making $26/hr. i'd be *really* happy then.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:30 PM on September 5, 2003


I like how anything at $200,001 and greater gets you:

"You are in the top 0,001% richest people in the world.
You don't need to know any more than that
(and besides our calculator can't do sums that big)."
posted by gluechunk at 5:33 PM on September 5, 2003


For a minute, this made me feel rich, or like the 39,597,565th richest person in the world anyway. Then I remembered that a full third of my income goes to taxes and I got bitter all over again.
posted by mokujin at 5:36 PM on September 5, 2003


not to be picky, mokujin, but i'd bet it's closer to 28% (that's only federal, yet only on taxable income, which must be at least slightly less than your gross).

if you're as smart as most people who make $90,000, i'd bet you could buy a house or perform any number of similar scams to reduce your tax burden down to 15% or so.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:49 PM on September 5, 2003


mrgrimm, I am Catholic but I do think good sense and restraint are very important when it comes to having children, and not just in the 3rd World.

stonerose, I assume you mean the belief that the poor simply must to have kids to help them make a living and later help them in their old age. True perhaps, but not always. People often have kids out of uncontrolled lust and that's that.

As for the resources, I'd be willing to bet that able adults can find the means to get by in most parts of the world, or we wouldn't have nomads or eskimos.

As for my posting history and beliefs, you are wrong; as a Christian I love the poor, but not poverty itself. The tenets I defend simply reflect the way capitalism works-- charity and altruism are exceptions-- self-support is the rule; people are born to different circumstances; some people are more talented than others; work and individual responsibility are the key to improvement.
posted by 111 at 5:55 PM on September 5, 2003


I do think good sense and restraint are very important when it comes to having children, and not just in the 3rd World

the queer thing to me is that good sense and restraint (or, as i read that, "people shouldn't be fucking unless they want to make babies") don't seem to matter in most industrialized societies, b/c we all take for granted the fact that we can run down to the drugstore (or school library) and pick up some condoms or spermicidal jelly. that's not such an option in a lot of the third world. i wonder why.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:05 PM on September 5, 2003


work, individual responsibility, and a keen sense of our mutual duties and obligations as members of an interdependent global society are the key to improvement.

Glad you see it my way, 666.

Hmm. Damn 1 key seems to be doing its own thing tonight.
posted by stonerose at 6:13 PM on September 5, 2003


i'm curious, 111, precisely what are your particular beliefs regarding the impoverished? on the one hand there's 'capitalism' and 'individual responsibilty', yet you claim that charity and altruism are exceptions. in what cirumstances?
posted by poopy at 6:17 PM on September 5, 2003


it 's an unwise move to somehow imply that the poor can be saved through nickels donated to CARE or whatever. The solution lies within the scope of individual actions, hard work and forethought. Donations and social policies are very important

CARE seems to be involved in all sorts of good things, such as capitalist/charity hybrid solutions. Yes, Microcredit has its problems, sometimes functioning as a sort of third world credit card rather than actual capital, but it's also proving itself as a great tool to go along with literacy efforts and selected other projects.

"The solution" you speak of is really elusive -- there really has been a lot of goodwill and money poured into poverty alleviation, and nobody really knows exactly how it happens, and the more time you spend studying it you realize how many facets to the problem there are. There's no one thing you can do that will guarantee the alleviation poverty, except perhaps changing human nature so that everyone is hardworking, inventive, and possessed of saintly charity. But that doesn't mean that while you're waiting for that, donating to CARE is unwise and that all efforts are futile. Modern aid has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, and some of them are pretty good.
posted by weston at 6:39 PM on September 5, 2003


Personally, I always find it helpful to be reminded how rewarding it is to work honestly and hard. Thanks for the link. With few exceptions the poor do neither. And then they have the further stupidity to breed beyond their ability to feed. Then they vote, and for higher taxes. There is a tipping point and it can destroy a democracy.
posted by paleocon at 6:40 PM on September 5, 2003


paleocon, does that broad brushstroke statement also refer to people in Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, etc.?
posted by stonerose at 6:43 PM on September 5, 2003


paleocon, is that just your nice way of saying, "WOOO! IN YOUR FACE, poor people!!" ?
posted by contessa at 6:47 PM on September 5, 2003


Personally, I always find it helpful to be reminded how lucky i am to be born into wealth and priviledge.
posted by poopy at 6:53 PM on September 5, 2003


contessa, in civilised parts of the world, annual leave and public holidays account for several weeks of the year. So do 7.5 hour work days. For example, New Zealand has a legal minimum of three weeks paid leave each year. Germany has something like six. Assuming it's a UK site (they have 3 or four weeks standard and about 10 public holidays a year) that would easily account for the discrepancy.

I used to envy Americans in the dot-com days, but when I thought about the need for healthcare plans, the two-week vacations which noone felt entitled to actually takes, and "at-will" employment, I realised I wasn't so badly off.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:00 PM on September 5, 2003


Paleocon: Yeah, congratulations on winning the birth lottery. I'm sure you would have gotten to the same station in life if you were born, for instance, in sub-Saharan Africa.
posted by bshort at 7:05 PM on September 5, 2003


So, it's settled then. I'm moving in with i_am_joe's_spleen.
posted by contessa at 7:05 PM on September 5, 2003


And then they have the further stupidity to breed beyond their ability to feed. Then they vote, and for higher taxes. There is a tipping point and it can destroy a democracy.

Fortunately, the rich have the means to counteract this tendancy by buying access to lawmakers. In fact, maybe an interesting correlated question to ask is at what point a top-heavy wealth distribution might tips the scales too far the other way.

I always find it helpful to be reminded how rewarding it is to work honestly and hard. Thanks for the link. With few exceptions the poor do neither

You mean your starting point has nothing to do with it? By far, the greatest predictor of wealth/class is that of your parents. What does that imply?
posted by weston at 7:11 PM on September 5, 2003


I am Catholic but I do think good sense and restraint are very important when it comes to having children,

...just not, you know, condoms.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:11 PM on September 5, 2003


abstinence = good sense and restraint
putting a condom on = sinful sensations and spillage of seed
posted by stonerose at 7:17 PM on September 5, 2003


Well, it's not really spilled per se.

Unless there is a hole.
posted by cortex at 7:19 PM on September 5, 2003


Personally, I always find it helpful to be reminded how rewarding it is to work honestly and hard. Thanks for the link. With few exceptions the poor do neither. And then they have the further stupidity to breed beyond their ability to feed. Then they vote, and for higher taxes. There is a tipping point and it can destroy a democracy.

You sir are, without doubt, the biggest asshat it has ever been my displeasure to read.
posted by Cerebus at 7:43 PM on September 5, 2003


Pretty damn impressive paleocon, you've managed to make 111 look lucid and moderate.
posted by cedar at 7:53 PM on September 5, 2003


you've managed to make 111 look lucid and moderate.

666 usually also comes back to answer questions, in his fascist. Oops. In his fashion.
posted by stonerose at 8:00 PM on September 5, 2003


And then they have the further stupidity to breed beyond their ability to feed. Then they vote, and for higher taxes. There is a tipping point and it can destroy a democracy.

(remember vote republican because i would)
posted by clavdivs at 8:00 PM on September 5, 2003


The "richness" calculations are completely broken, false, erroneous, deceptive, etc.

Richness and income are absolutely distinct.

Richness is wealth, the measure of how much money you have.

Income is the measure of the rate at which money comes to you.

Bill Gates could have no income for a year (not even interest) and still be among the richest/wealthiest people in the world at the end of that year, or someone making $150,000 per year could maintain their income level and have all their wealth (or richness) wiped out by medical expenses.
posted by NortonDC at 8:15 PM on September 5, 2003


"You are in the top 0.695% richest people in the world."

That's pre-tax, of course, but still interesting.



And fff: The difference between poor, wealthy, and super-wealthy is sickening.

But there are way more "wealthy" people now than at any time in history, and getting more so all the time.
posted by davidmsc at 8:35 PM on September 5, 2003


But there are way more "wealthy" people now than at any time in history, and getting more so all the time.

And more poor people than at any time in history, too.
Your point?
posted by stonerose at 8:40 PM on September 5, 2003


Did you guys actually expect paleocon to reply? His posting history is straight hit-and-run, and he has a deep personal aversion to making any god-damned sense. Is it really that offensive? I mean, if a rational person were saying that stuff, it owuld be something to be alarmed by, but at this rate, being bothered by paleocon is like getting upset because a retarded person spit on you. Just wipe it off, go on with your day, and be glad that phlegm can't be uploaded.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:44 PM on September 5, 2003


I know many people with highly paid jobs who are in DEBT. This makes their net worth -$XX,XXX, far below the average African.

The typical Somalian might be out there begging for food, but they probably have a net worth higher than many Westerners. Consider that. Likewise, a majority of American millionaires have an annual income of $100,000 or less (according to Yahoo Finance's many great quizzes). This would put them low on the rich list chart, but their net worth may be colossal.

Measuring wealth in a truly objective manner is very difficult. Annual income is not a particularly accurate way, and nor is net worth alone.
posted by wackybrit at 9:37 PM on September 5, 2003


.45% of the world earn between $33600 and $33800 a year according to this.. check it out, it's a massive jump between those two. Why am I doing this? Just work out where the '1%' boundary is so I can guess how much Matt earns ;-) (it's above $33800, put it that way.)
posted by wackybrit at 9:42 PM on September 5, 2003


My guess is that $33700 is the per capita income of a very large country.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:55 PM on September 5, 2003


Only San Marino, the Caymans, Bermuda, the US, and Luxembourg have PCGDPs over $33700.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:29 PM on September 5, 2003


Interesting. I recall seeing a chart of PCGDPs (or was it PCGNPs?) a few years back, and Switzerland was WAY off the top.
posted by wackybrit at 2:05 AM on September 6, 2003


Measuring wealth in a truly objective manner is very difficult. Annual income is not a particularly accurate way, and nor is net worth alone.

The only real measure of wealth is the kilocalorie, ie: "How long can you slack off before you starve to death?"

[/my 8368 joules]
posted by PsychoKick at 3:31 AM on September 6, 2003


You mean your starting point has nothing to do with it? By far, the greatest predictor of wealth/class is that of your parents. What does that imply?

It implies nothing or anything. It could be genes. It could be culture. It could be training. One thing is certain: You would never attribute their success to effort. And that is precisely what is wrong with socialist liberal thought.

Did you guys actually expect paleocon to reply?

I certainly didn't. But this was the only thing you were correct about.

You sir are, without doubt, the biggest asshat....blah blah

Thank you for demonstrating that any word can be made funny by merely juxtaposing "ass".
posted by paleocon at 6:16 AM on September 6, 2003


You are in the top 0.989% richest people in the world.

Huh. Imagine that. I notice that they didn't factor in the fact that my salary is in Canadian dollars.

But yes, like other people have said, this calculation should take into consideration one's net worth and cost of living in one's region to be really a measure of anything.
posted by orange swan at 6:18 AM on September 6, 2003


Starvation rate as a measure of wealth. That's a good idea.

Chances of starving to death in "the West": none. You'd have to make a concerted effort to avoid food and shelter in these nations.

Chances of starving to death in the third world: pretty high. You'd have to make a concerted effort to avoid it.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:18 AM on September 6, 2003


Interesting. I recall seeing a chart of PCGDPs (or was it PCGNPs?) a few years back, and Switzerland was WAY off the top

I'd bet that small states whose economies have a heavy emphasis on maybe-vaguely-shady financial stuff have very cyclical and varying PCGDPs as money flows around to whoever is easiest that year.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:48 AM on September 6, 2003


You would never attribute their success to effort.

Bwahahahahahaha.. Oh. Sorry. You're serious.

GWB is, by your measure, successful, but it's certainly not by dint of his own efforts. In fact, it's despite his efforts. What's more, his winning of the birth lottery has pulled his cojones from the fire more than one, by allowing him to call on family and political connections to rescue the companies he's run into the ground.

Menawhile I'm where I am due solely to my own efforts. I've been to the rock bottom, wondering where my next meal is coming from, eating once a day because that's all I can freaking afford. I found a way to pay for my own education-- every goddamn cent of it. I bought my own house. I worked hard for everything I own. I never got a leg up from anyone. I wasn't born with all the advantages, with a free ride to and through college because of who my family is. I wasn't given a free pass in business, with someone standing ready to rescue me from my mistakes.

Don't you dare spout off your crap about work and effort and "socialist liberal thought," you little toad. I've been there. I've done that. Most of the wealthy you lick the boots of so enthusiastically didn't. Period. End of sentence.
posted by Cerebus at 1:53 PM on September 6, 2003


It implies nothing or anything. It could be genes. It could be culture. It could be training. One thing is certain: You would never attribute their success to effort. And that is precisely what is wrong with socialist liberal thought.

Wrong. And I can tell you where you exactly where you went wrong, aside from the fact that I'm not a socialist liberal. I'm not saying at all that success and effort aren't related -- that's the liberal strawman in your head talking. I'm even of the mind that the current POTUS has probably expended a fair bit of effort to get where he is, despite the fact I'm sure his benefit-from-effort function is ridiculously goosed in comparison to, say, a farmer in Mali or even a fresh legal emmigrant in the US driving a taxi. What I'm saying is exactly what the data implies: no matter how hard you're willing to work, the resources you started with matter at the very least as much as anything else when it comes to determining where you're going to arrive. Maybe more.

All successes require effort. But you can win the race more easily or run farther if you've got a 10 meter -- or 10 kilometer -- head start. It's that simple.
posted by weston at 6:59 PM on September 6, 2003


Menawhile I'm where I am due solely to my own efforts.

All due respect to your achievements, Cerebus, but I don't think anyone can really say this. We were all helpless babies at the beginning of our lives. Someone had to take care of us, provide us with at least minimal food, clothing, shelter or we wouldn't last a day. Then as we grew we had to be taught certain things - you say that you paid for your education yourself but I doubt that you paid for your elementary or high school education. And then the post-secondary education and career you acquired were made possible in large part because an infrastructure existed that you'd had no hand in creating.

It's true some people get WAY more advantages than others, and some people can take far more credit to themselves for their achievements than others, but no one is entirely self-made. Our achievements always have at least some correlation to our opportunities and advantages.
posted by orange swan at 9:08 PM on September 6, 2003


Menawhile I'm where I am due solely to my own efforts

Why yes. Yes you are. And this was my point at the beginning. It is too bad you couldn't see past your anger to have understood this.
posted by paleocon at 10:15 AM on September 7, 2003


And this was my point at the beginning.

No it wasn't. You said:

I always find it helpful to be reminded how rewarding it is to work honestly and hard. [...] With few exceptions the poor do neither.

This is a comment which any reasonable person would read as a snide, egotistical, and above all idiotic thing to say. A poor family with both parents working is working "honestly and hard"-- and not just getting nowhere, but sinking fast thanks to the policies you worship.

Your point was clearly just to be a snarky troll, as usual, and I'm sad to say I let it rile me as much as it did.

I'm where I am because I worked at it-- but what you are blind to is I'm the exception, not the rule. Not because I was poor and worked hard, but because I succeeded. The deck is stacked against the poor; I know, I played that hand. That I won the crooked game we're forced to play is something I'll never take for granted-- because I've lived the other side.

Typical of your ilk, you haven't. But don't worry; you or your descendants will (unless you happen to be one of the blessed plutocrats).
posted by Cerebus at 7:56 PM on September 7, 2003


Let's review shall we?

"you sir are the biggest asshat"
"you little toad"
"typical of your ilk"
"a snarky troll"
"End of sentence"


Nice debating technique. Are you the guardian of correct thinking here?
posted by paleocon at 4:21 PM on September 9, 2003


God forbid you should address my point.
posted by Cerebus at 5:22 PM on September 9, 2003


What point exactly did you think you were making? That everything you've accomplished is not a model for other people to follow? That if you curse people with hip jargon that you are somehow elevated? No, I don't think you are coherent enough to have a point. I think you are still formative and at war more with yourself than me.
posted by paleocon at 6:35 PM on September 9, 2003


paleocon: you said the poor are poor because they don't work honestly and hard.

Cerebus said that he's been poor (at least, lacking enough money to feed himself more than once a day, which I'd say qualifies) and he worked pretty hard during that time, and has seen others in the same situation. And only some of them made it.

I also made a point that I didn't see you respond to. "All successes require effort. But you can win the race more easily or run farther if you've got a 10 meter -- or 10 kilometer -- head start. It's that simple." And I'll add: the poor start behind the line, some 10 meters, some 10K.
posted by weston at 9:28 PM on September 11, 2003


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