Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Who Are the 400 Poorest?

We all know who the 400 Richest Americans are, and who are the world's billionaires. We know where they vacation, what kind of homes they live in, the cars they drive, their marital status, the yachts they go yachting in.

Our obsession with and lionization of the wealthy Cloud Minders (see David Korten) is obscene.

Do we know who the 400 poorest Americans are? Who are the 400 poorest in the world? Do we know their names? Do we know what each one eats, where they sleep, what kind of work they do?

We don't, but we do know about the injustice of wealth distribution: these top 400 richest Americans in Forbes own more than world's 2.5 billion poorest combined.
As Barbara Ehrenreich so eloquently put it:
The ‘working poor’ as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.

More on Poverty


Larry Gambone said...

There must be a way to find out the 400 poorest. Here is an idea that you have sparked. Somone should track down the 400 poorest, ask if it OK to name them then do a press release with Canada'a 400 Poorest and make it an annual event like Buy Nothing Day.

Red Jenny said...

Heh, that would be pretty cool - it's different enough that that it might get some publicity. Like the ANTI-Forbes 400 Poorest Canadians List.

Unfortunately the truth is, it is nearly impossible to determine the 400 poorest. Trying to get an accurate count of the number of homeless in Toronto was itself very controversial.