31ish Days | Comfort Detox: The Real 1%

By October 14, 2012 culture, faith No Comments

Did you know you are wealthy?

Yes, you. (And me.) Wealthy.

It’s true! You may not feel wealthy, but that’s because you’re in the middle of it. Sometimes the wealth feels so normal it doesn’t feel special anymore.

Also, the messages in our society tell us otherwise. Take, for instance, the talk from the Occupy Movement. It has told us that those in the top 1% (earning more than $500K annually) in our country are hurting the 99%—the rest of us—with their greed and corruption and lap-of-luxury living. We, the 99%, aren’t wealthy at all. We need a bit more of the income pie.

Every time I’ve heard this 99% slogan, my heart would sink. By U.S. standards, I’m in the 99%. I should relate to the angst. But I don’t anymore. The world is much bigger than the United States. By the world’s standards, the United States as a whole would be in the 1%. It’s like we’re the 1% of the world fighting among ourselves, trying to get more and more wealth between us—and we think little of sharing our wealth with the 99%.

Here are some stats gathered from The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns to put what I mean into context:

If your income is $25,000 per year, you are wealthier than 90% of the world’s population. Only 10% of all people worldwide make $25K or more per year.

If you make $50,000 per year, you are wealthier than 99% of the world. Only 1% of all people worldwide make $50K or more per year.

93% of the world’s people do not own a car.

3 billion people live on less than $2 per day

1.5 billion people live on less than $1 per day

.3 billion people in the United States live on $105 per day ($38K per year)

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Who is the 1%? It’s the typical American. And we don’t even know we have it so good.

Do you feel wealthy? Do you compare your lifestyle to other Americans or to the majority of the world’s population? I’d love to hear how you are wrestling with this.

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