|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Sunday, June 08, 2003
The New York Review of Books: Globalization: Stiglitz's Case: Excellent and thorough review of Globalization and Its Discontents. Interesting statistics: "Columbia Economics Department, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, has recently published a study arguing .. that for purposes of assessing whether someone is economically well off or miserable, what matters is not how many US dollars the person's income could buy in the foreign exchange market but what standard of living that income can support in the place where he or she lives. In India, for example, the average person's income in rupees in 2000 translated into just $460 per year at the prevailing market exchange rate of 44 rupees per dollar. But because food, clothing, housing, and other consumer necessities are so much cheaper in India than in the US, the same amount of rupees was equivalent to an American income of nearly $2,400. Similarly, the average Chinese income in 2000 was $840 at the official yuan–dollar market exchange rate, but more than $3,900 if measured on a purchasing power equivalent basis.
Even if we allow for these differences in the cost of living, the number of people in the world who live on the equivalent of $1 per day, or $2 per day, is still depressingly large: according to Sala-i-Martin's estimate, nearly 300 million, and not quite 1 billion, respectively. But this is far below the 1.2 billion and 2.8 billion figures that have become familiar in public discussion .. [More important] Sala-i-Martin estimates that they are declining despite the rapid growth in world population. As a result, he finds, the proportion of people living on what amounts to $1 per day has fallen from 20 percent of the world's population a quarter-century ago to just 5 percent today, while the $2-per-day poverty rate has fallen from 44 percent to 19 percent." 11:42:42 PM
Iraq Museum to Reopen Displaying Lost Treasure: "U.S. investigators also recovered thousands of items from the museum's main exhibition collection last week when employees led them to a secret vault somewhere in Baghdad. The items had been taken there for safekeeping ahead of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. "It's a secret place where we still have the whole collection of the museum that was displayed and it's safe," said museum director George... George said museum staff had also returned items they took home during the war. U.S. investigators say around 3,000 museum pieces are still missing, most of which were not of exhibition quality. The number is far lower than initially feared. .. George said 33 items from the main collection were missing, probably stolen by professional thieves [and already outside the country]." Hmm, if museum staff can hide tens of thousands of museum pieces from looters and from the US occupiers for two months, maybe the WMD really are hidden... 11:24:01 AM