Friday, January 18, 2013

A lot of money!

... how much is 'a lot' anyway?

Americans live on about $50K per year per household.  That's the median; half have more, half have less.  More education means more.  Less education means less, generally speaking.  It works out to around $50 per day per individual, counting all workers, all kids, all singles and marrieds.  Just a ballpark figure for understanding.

$50 per person per day is middle/median America.

Most of the world (80%) lives on about $10 per person per day or less. Think about what that might be like.

The cost of common things like food and fuel and building materials are roughly the same around the world in these figures.

That $10/day figure for most of the world is much lower than the threshold for poverty in America (2012).  Much of the world lives at or below that level.

Kenya, this is normal.
If there were just a hundred of us in the world and in just one town, 80 would be poor, and maybe 40+ would be poor enough to be at risk for survival.  Perhaps 18 or so would be struggling or middle-class, and the last 2 would be rich.  Most of the kids at school would be really poor.  Most of the folks on the street would be really in need.  Most folks would die early; children before age 5 and adults before 60 because of a lack of food and health care.  Most folks would live on land they didn't own and in simple huts they made from materials they could find.

Upper Middle Lower

It implies a class distinction, doesn't it. 


Rich folks, poor folks, and then the really poor.  It's as though some were really smart and worthy, and the rest weren't smart or worthy or maybe they didn't study hard enough or work hard enough.

True?  Yes.  Valid?  No.

And governments seem to favor the wealthy.  There always remains a percentage of citizens who are effectively disenfranchised; forgotten by the nation and its rulers.

True?  Yes.  That's how government tends over time.

Carrying water home from the river; this is normal.
Generally speaking, those hovering near the brink of survival work harder and longer than others.  If they're still alive, it's because they bounce back and try again, over and over and over.  Their communities tend to be real rather than just crowded areas of folks who don't know or care much about each other.

Generosity?  The poor are often more willing to share sacrificially, perhaps because they understand being in need.

Hospitality?  The homes of the poor are often full of extended family and friends and even strangers like you and me.

Grace, faith?  The poor are blessed.  Their faith is real when they pray, "give us this day, bread."  They can know God for real, and they can tell you about it in real terms.  The ones I've met gather for worship if they can, and they pretty much live it for real every day.  They aren't similar to rich people in any aspect.

The family garden; a source of pride ... and survival.

Most of the world lives in a manner that has almost nothing in common with the wealthy and privileged.  Almost nothing at all!

Perhaps it really is harder for a camel to get stuffed through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to have a place where he fits in the real world.

You have to wonder if there's something in all of that, something we might need to know and do.