Do your figures add up? No?
Here is why.
Credit Suisse (a major global bank based in Switzerland) issues an annual Global Wealth Survey which runs to 165 pages more or less. The report from 2013 is a rare find indeed ! It contains information rarely, if ever, circulated by media, financial institutions, governments, aid agencies etc….that is, essentially by no one at all.
Every time you are presented with figures by the Media, Governments, World Bank etc concerning the GDP, the wealth, the income or the financial status of a nation or of any group of people, the array of figures, charts and graphs are always based upon measurements of “per capita income” or “the average income.” (the “average” is also sometimes also referred to as the “mean” but all three terms are equivalent.)
Go ahead and google anything about wealth statistics right now, from any source and I guarantee this will be the case.
None of these measurements are suitable for the sharing of information as they all skew information and conclusions away from the reality of every day life. They present reality as something better than it actually is.
For example, take a tiny village with a population of only 9. The actual annual incomes per year of the nine people are,
$50,000; $50,000; $50,000; $50,000
Without even doing any mathematical calculations, just by looking at these incomes written down, we can get a good idea of the profile of this village’s typical wealth. The bulk of the people have incomes of around $50,000 – $60,000, let’s say $55,000 per year.
Now let’s do some simple calculations, as all the global media and financial institutions do and let’s calculate the income per capita of the village. The per capita is another term for the average. We calculate the average by adding all the wealth together and dividing by the population of the village, 9 in this case.
The total income for the village is $870,000 from 9 people, making the average (per capita) income about $96,700 per year.
Does the per capita income of $96,700 reflect the overall make up of the village?
No. Eight out of nine villagers are below this “average” income, with 2 people being very much lower. Only ONE person, the richest one, is above the average income, and they are MUCH higher.
We can see that according to “official figures” which we might read in the media, the average annual income of this village is almost $100,000 – quite a comfortable amount it seems. That’s good right? This village must be well organized by the leaders and its population must be very happy to live in a fairly prosperous, well organized area. The village leaders can show off their good work around the country by distributing the official wealth report as proof of their great system.
“Be more like us” they might boast, “as look at what we have achieved!”
Well, no. The problem is that this conclusion and the reports it generates isn’t really true is it? And even worse, in the real world where villages have far more than 9 people, and the richest people are FAR more rich than in this example, the skewing effects of wealth reporting are even worse.
In this village the richest person has only about 10x the income that the typical person has at $520,000 vs $55,000. In the real world however, the situation is far worse where multi billionaires have more like 10,000x – 20,000x the wealth that typical people have. Who would worry if Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates was only 10x richer than us!
So, do you see why everybody in officialdom uses “per capita” or “average” wealth and/or income figures and not the median? These official numbers hide in plain site the fundamental problems surrounding global wealth creation and its distribution.
Ordinary people know they are not wealthy, but somehow they have been convinced that they are, and that everyone else is as well. They just doubt themselves.
Sadly, many people in western countries are struggling to maintain the barely reasonable standards of living that they think everyone else has, by going further into debt and working 2 or more jobs. But this is not a solution. Huge debt and working longer hours are not good for the long term health of an individual, a family or a nation.
Is there a better way to measure wealth and income? Yes there is – that is why no one uses it. It is called THE MEDIAN and it gives a much more accurate measure of reality. The 2013 Credit Suisse Wealth Report quotes both types of figures, which makes it a rare thing indeed.
Let us go back to our village of 9 above. All we need to do to find the Median is to note down the incomes in order, either high to low or the other way around, (it makes no difference) and then, starting from one end, simply count until we arrive at the middle figure.
10,000 20,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 60,000 60,000, 520,000
Counting from highest or lowest towards the middle, we see that the middle or mid range figure in the list is the fifth one – $50,000. So the Median income of the village is $50,000 – very close to what it seems to actually be for the majority of people.
Now, remember what the official wealth per capita was? $96,700, almost double what it really is.
This is a simple trick that totally obscures the reality of life for billions of people. It is also part of the endless daily propanganda we see, read or hear about from important looking people dressed in expensive suits who make the majority of people believe they are doing okay, when they frequently are not. When in fact, many people are hugely in debt, of no fixed address and can’t make the bill payments. They are bankrupt.
Let’s now look at the wealth figures of a real country – the United States – using the figures from the 2013 Credit Suisse Global report. (These figures are getting a bit old now but if anything I think they will flatter the present day situation. I’m going to stick to these figures, as Median figures are so hard to find, even in later reports by Credit Suisse).
|USA||Per Capita||Median||<$10k||$10k – 100k||$100k – 1M||>$1M|
Just as in our hypothetical village above, the figures for a real nation like the United States are quite shocking. Shocking because the highly respectable per capita / average wealth figure of $301,140 hides the true situation, that most people have just $44,911 in wealth to their name. Almost one seventh of the universally used figure.
To ram home this huge difference in wealth in the USA – on these 2013 figures, based on wealth per capita, America is the 5th wealthiest nation on earth, right up with the rich little economic giants like Singapore and Switzerland. Great huh? That is what we always hear about right? America is one of the richest countries on earth…
Well, the reality of life in the United States is reflected not in per capita numbers, but in the median wealth – and in the median figures, the typical American only ranks at number 28 most wealthy in the world, not 5th. And since Covid and the financial meltdowns that America has with depressing regularity, it is likely, as I said above, even these figures are probably flattering.
And lastly, take a look at the last 4 figures on the right hand side of the table above. These numbers are the percentage of people whose wealth falls in the four ranges shown; that is, less than (<) $10,000 in wealth, $10,000-$100,000 in wealth ….up to over (>) $1 Million.
Almost 31% of American working age adults (children are excluded from all these figures) have less than $10,000 in wealth to their name. These adults have less than $10,000 in total home ownership equity + savings + investments + assets. They don’t even own a decent car outright yet alone a house.
31% !! Basically one third of American adults are working so hard but have so little to show for it.
When you look at any figures with regards the median versus the average, it is clear why nobody wants to tell the truth. Which financial or political leader wants to tell their citizens that actually, it is just that – an American dream. You really have little chance of ever progressing in life. You are probably going backwards.
Sure, some people do okay with a steady job or career, but remember we are looking at typical people, the bulk of people, not the tiny percentages of people that go into space in their own rocket ships, they built to carry other super rich people who are bored with the earthly persuits of the ordinary masses who paid for it. A space ship built to make even more money for their creators.
So take note of what you read from now on and see how any numbers are presented – does the source use the median or the per capita/average numbers?
I don’t think it will be any surprise.
If you are from America and read this, ask yourself where you fit into the boxes above – are you more of an average person or a median one? Ask your friends too. At least you might finally realise why life is such a struggle.