Measuring global poverty

John Hinderaker says it’s a dose of reality for the Pope.

I really don’t like Pope Francis. Some popes have been positive, world-historical figures, like John Paul II. Others have been clueless tag-alongs with the intellectual fashions of their time. I am afraid that Francis falls into the latter category. His hostility toward free enterprise is the fruit of ignorance, not holiness. His best defense is that as a citizen of Argentina, he has no experience of the benefits of free enterprise. But as the leader of a world-wide church, he is obliged to inform himself before he pontificates.

A reader passes along this graph, from EconLog, which plots on the horizontal axis a person’s position in his own country’s income distribution, and on the vertical axis, a person’s position in global income distribution, as of 2008. The poorest Americans (points 1 or 2 on the horizontal axis) have incomes that put them above the 50th percentile worldwide. Note that 12% of the richest Americans belong to the global top 1%:

The graph only shows the U.S., Russia, Brazil, China, and India in citizen position on a global versus country income distribution. It has much of interest. The exceptional nature of the U.S. is quite evident in both position and in the shape of the curve. If you want to address either poverty or income inequality, you need to look in places other than the U.S. if you are serious about addressing the issues involved.

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