America's 99% Are The World's Top 1%

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Maverick74, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Maverick74


    I've been trying to say this to our fellow OWS crowd here at ET, but they don't want to hear this.

    Does America’s 99 percent represent the top 1 percent on Earth?
    Posted by Suzy Khimm at 12:41 PM ET, 10/12/2011

    Some critics of the 99 percenters argue that they are still better off than 99 percent of the world’s population. “In America, you are the 99%, but in the rest of the world, you are still the 1%,” reads one image that’s been making the rounds, juxtaposing the protesters with starving African children. Occupy Wall Street’s logic, by extension, should mean that the entire United States should redistribute its wealth globally. But is the 99 percent in the United States so well off compared with the rest of the world?

    As it turns out, the bottom 99 percent of the United States doesn’t make the top 1 percent of household incomes worldwide — but it comes surprisingly close. Branko Milanovic, lead economist for the World Bank research group, sent me this comparative analysis based on household income or consumption surveys worldwide, adjusted for purchasing power differences. Those at the 34th percentile of income in the United States are at the 90th percentile globally, and those at the 50th percentile in the United States are at the 93rd percentile globally. Even the very poorest Americans — those at the 2nd percentile of income in the United States — are at the 62nd percentile globally.

    Technically speaking, only a small minority of Americans are in the top 1 percent globally: Just those at the 92nd percentile and above are part of the richest 1 percent on earth. But many others come pretty close. All Americans at the 82nd percentile and higher are in the top 2 percent globally, for instance. So although critics aren’t exactly right about the privileged 99 percent in this country, their general point seems to hold.



    Milanovic points out that the data are adjusted based on relative price levels in different countries — what’s known as purchasing power parity — to adjust for cost of living and currency values in different countries. “Without that adjustment, Americans would be even more highly placed,” he says. For more of Milanovic’s findings, detailed in his latest book, “The Haves and the Have-Nots,” look here.
  2. Ricter


    Yeah, it's relative of course. Like complaining about high taxes.
  3. sme


    Talk about missing the point.

    Assuming you are genuine, you should know better.

    So the standard is now 3rd world squalor.

    Monopolistic corporations want (and are getting) a global labour market. Assuming you care, how are people supposed to compete?

    Everyone complains about labour unions, but why is there not as much complaining about "corporate unions" (i.e. monopolies)?

    This mentality is ripping society apart.

    With the current trends continuing, you are ok with having a global clearing rate for labour?
  4. TGregg


    Rand made that point in the 20th Century Motor Company debacle in Atlas Shrugged. People were looking to dip their hands in the pockets of others further up the ladder without realizing that their own pockets were being eyed by people even further down. Interesting section of the book, too bad there wasn't `nuff time in the movie to give it justice.
  5. I am surprised you would even pose this question.

    People's brains simply do not work in that way.

    In a scientific study done, happiness was always showed to be gained in relative not absolute terms. I.e. to say if you made 500k, and 80% of the people(neighbours,friends, relatives) that you know made 750k, you were pretty fucking miserable, but if you made 25k, and everyone that you knew were living in the dumps, you were a pretty happy man.
  6. Maverick74


    Not missing the point. The irony is that a lot of our middle class wealth left this country to go to these poorer countries. So now they are growing a middle class. You see, it cuts both ways. They (the rest of the world) are demanding that we (the 99%) give wealth to them just as the 99% in the US want some of the wealth of the top 1% here. I know it hurts dude, but it's the same logic carried over one step further.
  7. TGregg


    I've never understood that. Once, I worked at a place making decent money, then discovered that many other people were making more than double what I was! I was so happy to see all that opportunity that I almost did cartwheels down the aisle!
  8. Maverick74


    In the book "Fooled By Randomness" Nassim Taleb made this same point. He used the example of a married couple whose husband was a corporate attorney living on park ave in NY. But because of where they lived, his wife felt poor and embarrassed. So they moved to a suburb in NJ where they were now making more money then their neighbors...problem solved, she felt rich now.
  9. Ricter


    Though pure fiction that story was nice.
  10. sme


    Not an expert on happiness, but I would be cautiously critical of people who try to influence us on how to measure it.

    "Keeping up with the Joneses" versus living like a peasant

    In trading/investing terms, it is like the industry wanting us to focus solely on relative performance when you and I know absolute performance also does matter.
    #10     Oct 18, 2011