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It seems to me that what is needed is some statistics about the situation for the lowest income 10% of the population for various countries. But before searching under Internet rocks for this, we must agree whether it is fair to use examples from countries that have only recently joined the EU. One might argue that only countries like France and Belgium may be used because there are special circumstances for Germanty (reunification), Britain (Anglo-Saxon), Spain (recovery from Franco), Italy (not sure what the special circumstance would be), or Greece...
And a very enthusiastic American might claim that there are special circumstances for some areas in this country, too. NYC has a lot of partially-integrated immigrants. The South has a distorted economy due to racism. Florida has too many retirees and European tourists. Only Minnesota truly represents the American system! <-- JOKE, for the humor-impaired.
So, what countries are on the list?
Definition: National estimates of the percentage of the population lying below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations.
Although...still not exactly clear what the cut-off is, as this mentions "different standards"...
"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
I agree the question of income distribution is also valuable, but it would seem that we have to look at both.
I think one should compare groups of countries, which have similarities within the group, but differences among the groups.
Group I: US and Britain
Group II: Germany and France
Group III: Greek, Italy, Spain and Portugal
Group IV: Poland and Turkey
For group IV I don't know if it makes sense to put them together, as I there economic systems had a different historical development and I have no idea at all about them. But may be just from the point of view how many Polish and Turkish people look for upward mobility and higher incomes in other European countries, they have some sort of similarities.
How about Poland and Turkey?
Anyway, people were complaining about opinions not supported by data, so now we have the data. It's time to stop reading our opinions into the data and actually do some analysis. That does take time, but the bulk of the research is the data compilation, and that has been done already (for example, at nationmaster.com assuming that we don't want to question the quality of the data. Now that would be a huge research project.
If I find some time I'll take the tables from this page and do the clustering analysis.
A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
I believed in my mind that the differences between the US and the German system for example are due to the different way the public school system is financed in both countries. I searched for data that would clarify who pays what with what kind of taxes etc. I couldn't find it so far. Of course I had not more than 45 minutes to do it. The only thing I found already that apparently in certain circles the US style financing method via vouchers (apparently introduced by Milton Friedman) was heavily discussed and mostly criticized in Germany.
If I can't contribute factual data, I just can't comment. I am sorry to admit that. I just admire the work that must behind a lot of posts here that show real data.
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