Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Putting Things In Perspective

We hear so much about the disparity between the haves and the have-nots nowadays.  Who's got "enough" or "too much" or deserves more of "their fair share" and all that.  I've addressed the notion of income inequality before (here and here), but that's not the point of this post.  I merely want to share a way to gain some perspective on how how bad any of us really have it here in the US in the 21st century.  Despite the economic implosion and continuing recession since 2008, despite the horrendous (and horrendously mis-reported) unemployment rate, and despite the economic disaster of the last five years (ahem)...we are still so incredibly wealthy as a nation compared to the rest of the world!

Check out the Global Rich List and see how you stack up against the rest of the world.  It's simple - just enter the currency you use and your annual income and click the button, and you'll see where you land on the scale of the roughly 7 billion people living on the planet.

Pretty astounding, isn't it?

But it's not just's all of us.  The median US household income -- meaning, if you were to line up all of the incomes in the nation in order of most to least, and then pick the one squarely in the middle of that line -- was roughly $45,000 in 2012.  That income lands in the top .37% of the wealthiest people in the world.  In fact, you'd have to make less than $31,100 to drop out of the global top 1%, and the official poverty line in the US -- around $23,000 -- still looks pretty awesome in the top 2.25% globally.

So, the next time you find yourself whining and moaning about the "1%ers" who have so much wealth and how unfair it is, just remember that on a global scale...that's you.  Then stop and think about how you might possibly be able to help someone else out who has far, far less than you.  Obviously, there are plenty of people out there who desperately need the help, and in a relative sense you have the means to provide it to them.

Not only will you help alleviate a genuine problem in the world, but you'll also suddenly find yourself more thankful for what you do have.

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