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Yeah, but you're not poor on 100K, are you? (Is that a household or individual figure, BTW?) The bourgeoisie need the petit bourgeoisie to look after them: not everyone else can be poor.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:18:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No clue if it's household or individual.  You're certainly not poor at $100k/year.  To say that anyone is would be absurd, obviously.  You're quite comfortable, but you're nowhere near the point at which you can say, "I can have anything I want," in this day and age.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:22:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But if you're at the point where 90% of the people think you can have anything you want...

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:26:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but, if you polled people, they would like tell you that the family at the bottom of the top 10% was making far more than $100k.  Most folks who haven't had the luxury of reading the stats are quite surprised by how low it is, in my experience.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because people are simultaneously in denial about how poor they are and how wealthy they are, depending on the context.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:37:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because we're comparing ourselves to different levels of (real) income and wealth by class when we look across the globe.  The working-class guy in Omaha, poor though he may be by American standards, is still a hell of a lot wealthier than the working-class guy in Beijing.  The former, without question, owns a car, a television, -- that sort of stuff -- and is about 50/50 on owning his own home.  The latter is working in a sweatshop during an industrial revolution and living what is, of course, an incredibly tough life.  Fast-forward a hundred years, and the differences, while existing, will be nowhere near as many, and not even close to the same degree.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:43:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also the difference between "I am wealthy because I can have anything I want" and "I am wealthy because I can have anything I could posibly want".

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:53:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely much of the denial springs from the gap between 'I am wealthy because I have everything I need' and 'I am wealthy because I have everything I want'?
by Sassafras on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 02:07:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fast-forward a hundred years, and the differences, while existing, will be nowhere near as many, and not even close to the same degree.

You think?  Because I suspect the opposite.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:53:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As the good ex-economist he is, Drew does believe in relaxation towards general economic equilibrium.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 10:56:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, I didn't spend four years of my life making A's in college only to have my title stolen from me.  Don't lump me in with the finance and business administration crowd.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 11:01:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's possible, I guess, but not at all probable.  What we're seeing right now is convergence -- that is, countries like China taking advantage of their enormous labor pools and gradually catching up via the import of our knowledge.  (That import is why productivity growth is so high in China right now.  That, along with its massive low-skill, underemployed labor pool, is what is driving the stunning growth rates -- that combination of underutilized capacity and increasing knowledge.)  Eventually, whether it's twenty years down the road or two hundred years, China will catch up to us.  It will become developed, meaning that it will move close to capacity in the way America and Europe have, at which point economic improvement becomes a game of productivity growth.  By that time, my sense is that regions like Africa will probably be roughly at the point that China is at today, but that's just a crystal-ball sort of guess, obviously, and, not being in possession of a crystal ball, that prediction should, of course, be taken with the proper quantity of salt.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 11:11:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the rising tide in China lifting all boats?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 11:14:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would submit that if our own post-industrial societies have more (and more?) sinking boats, it might be unreasonable to expect a unformly buoyant Chinese flotilla.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 11:18:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, of course not, and it would be silly to claim that this was the case.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 11:20:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then how does claiming that China's aggregate figures will approach the US' address the question of inequality in the global distribution of wealth?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 11:21:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The economy is not a system existing unto itself.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 01:01:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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