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100 million on one dollar a day?

 
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:38 pm
I would love to know how this is possible in India.How can that many live on so little.Can you compare/contrast it with what it takes bare minimum in our country to live and why the apparent disparity.I am guessing conservatively that it is 20 to 30 times more to scrape by here in the u.s.a.
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 1,461 • Replies: 11
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 02:55 am
@bruce martin gelman,
Your question ultimately relates to what "scraping by" means, and that is a comparative historical and social issue with respect to life expectancy and general quality of life.
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Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 08:53 am
@bruce martin gelman,
Not to state the obvious, but are you talking about trying to compare one nation's (first world) middle-class lifestlye with another (third world) middle-class lifestlye? As you might know, India has a relatively small middle-class relative to USA/North America which has a very large one.

If I were eating a couple of bowls of rice & lentils per day (instead of 3 square meals), living in a very basic structure in warm or hot climate and with or w/o heat or w/o hot water, had no car -- well, I could get by very inexpensively -- even here in North America.

Comparisons of such drastically dis-similar lifestyles and economies and gov't services (perhaps with questionable security) would be next-to-impossible.
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 09:43 am
@bruce martin gelman,
and...as Fresco stated, life expectancy and healthcare issues must be compared.

However, all this being said, if you're talking about how incredibly conasumptive USA is, you won't find any arguemnt or pushback ehre. Environmentally, we consume far too much per person and a sa collective group. This voracious consumption contributes a massive amount of pollution.

Also you might want to look at the nation of China also where you'll see a 'Frankesntein's Monster' as far as following the that voracious kind of growth and consumption and subsequent polltion and consumerism.
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 10:28 am
I hope that people find this article interesting. It's a hyperlink to a NOVA (PBS) "World in the Balance" show in comparing the lifestyles of a typical Chinese, Japanese, Mali, USA and Indian family:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/worldbalance/material.html
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 11:08 am
It's really pretty meaningless to compare incomes in dollars in different countries. It's necessary to know just what $1 US will buy in a Third World country. A hell of a lot more than it could buy in the US, I'll bet.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 11:28 am
@Merry Andrew,
Merry, The Economist magazine's Big Mac Index is one of the best indicators of what $1 US will buy in other countries. Check it out.
http://www.economist.com/markets/bigmac/

http://currencyforthelongterm.wordpress.com/big-mac-index/
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chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 11:37 am
ok, the currency converter says $1 is equal to 46 or 47 rupees.

Now to see what that will buy.
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:12 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Andrew:

... but then the purchase of the same comparative consumer item (at a certain lower level of consumer protection and independent quality testing) has to be considered. As an example in consumer electronics, a Nikon digital camera has a US Warranty here but overseas even though it's the same item, the International warranty is different. So in the instance of taking $200 USD and buying say a Nikon point-and-shoot digi-camera, even though there may be a foreign purchaser of the item using USD, they still would have less stringent set of consumer protection should there be a problem. In the case of a lemon digicam, they may have more of a chance for a financial loss.

... then there's that issue of VAT (luxury) or local nation or municipality taxes. Not going to get into a US consumer buying from here (overseas), that is a different issue.

Sorry, as I read this over I know this example is convoluted, but what I'm trying to say is that even though the $USD spent abroad does buy more, the lack of consumer protection for electronic consumer items somewhat diminshes the positive effects of higher value-for-USD spent there.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 12:18 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Were you able to view the PBS link. Has anyone viewed the article? It somewhat addresses the Purchasing Power Parity comparison as to what a local family buys and compares their relative lifestyles and what their currency buys for their typical daily food and products.

Interesting, s your Economist links to the article states:

"Thus a Big Mac in China costs 10.5 yuan, against an average price in four American cities of $3.10 (see the first column of the table). To make the two prices equal would require an exchange rate of 3.39 yuan to the dollar, compared with a market rate of 8.03. In other words, the yuan is 58% “undervalued” against the dollar. To put it another way, converted into dollars at market rates the Chinese burger is the cheapest in the table."

Further shedding more light on the issue in the article on Big Mac Burger index:

"The index was never intended to be a precise predictor of currency movements, simply a take-away guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” long-run level. Curiously, however, burgernomics has an impressive record in predicting exchange rates: currencies that show up as overvalued often tend to weaken in later years. But you must always remember the Big Mac’s limitations. Burgers cannot sensibly be traded across borders and prices are distorted by differences in taxes and the cost of non-tradable inputs, such as rents."
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 02:33 pm
@Ragman,
Ragman wrote:

Andrew:

... but then the purchase of the same comparative consumer item (at a certain lower level of consumer protection and independent quality testing) has to be considered. As an example in consumer electronics, a Nikon digital camera has a US Warranty here but overseas even though it's the same item, the International warranty is different. So in the instance of taking $200 USD and buying say a Nikon point-and-shoot digi-camera, even though there may be a foreign purchaser of the item using USD, they still would have less stringent set of consumer protection should there be a problem. In the case of a lemon digicam, they may have more of a chance for a financial loss.

... then there's that issue of VAT (luxury) or local nation or municipality taxes. Not going to get into a US consumer buying from here (overseas), that is a different issue.

Sorry, as I read this over I know this example is convoluted, but what I'm trying to say is that even though the $USD spent abroad does buy more, the lack of consumer protection for electronic consumer items somewhat diminshes the positive effects of higher value-for-USD spent there.


Yes, you're right on all that, of course. But we were talking about the disparity in pay scales in different countries; my point is that it's meaningless to get alarmed about a person earning 'only' a dollar a day if we don't know how far that dollar will go in the marketplace. When we 'view with alarm' the low wages of overseas workers we are thinking of what a wage like that would purchase in the USA, not India or Vietnam or China.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Feb, 2010 10:34 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Yes and my point is that part of a vlaue-fo-the-dollar spent in a consumer's 'market basket of items' in India or Asia might be cheap consumer electronics items, which may not have as good consumer protection as we're used to here. So it's a stretched point, I agree.
0 Replies
 
 

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