I saw this on an askreddit thread but forgot to save the page so I can’t even remember the question. I do remember being momentarily floored by this simple comment.
We must be more grateful for our lives.
The 2016 World Bank report on Poverty and Shared Prosperity is almost 200 pages long, so I didn’t read it. But looking at the World Bank page on poverty just hammers home how lucky I am, and everyone around me, and everyone who is reading this.
There has been progress:
- in 2013, 10.7% of the world’s population lived on less than US$1.90 a day, compared to 12.4% in 2012 and 35% in 1990
- nearly 1.1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty since 1990
But the fact is that there are still 767 MILLION people who live in poverty, defined as living below US$1.90 a day. I cannot for the life of me imagine living on that tiny sum a day.
Which is the bigger problem, inequality. The Gini index measures wealth gap. A perfect distribution of wealth within a group means a Gini index of zero. A Gini index of one is where one person in the group has all the wealth and the others have none. So, the lower the better. Here’s another World Bank chart:
The global index (blue line) has decreased since 1988, in part due to globalisation and rapid growth by developing countries–countries are more equal as shown by the light orange between-country index. But look at the dark red in-country index that has gone up a whopping 75%. In real terms, this means the rich in one country has gotten richer, and richer, and richer. It’s a challenge to explain this. Politics, economics, taxation, market movement, greed, these are all factors.
Going back to the reddit comment. I don’t know how to solve inequality aside from being aware of the issue. Just let’s be more grateful, okay?