Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Global Rich List: Just how rich are we?

A few months ago I posted links to some demographic tools for understanding our neighborhoods. When I plug my home address into one of them, I find out that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income of households within a one-mile radius of my house is $66,508 and the average income is $75,559. Extending out to a five-mile radius, the average income is $85,413.

Then just yesterday I came across the Global Rich List site. This blew me away. I had seen statistics demonstrating some of this, but not this kind of online calculator to put things in perspective. Go to http://globalrichlist.com and plug in your respective data.

What do we do with this? How should suburban Christians wield all the resources and wealth that we have access to? What does Christian stewardship and generosity look like in a world of this kind of disparity? Reflect and discuss.

1 comment:

Craver VII said...

Oops… Don’t use decimals to calculate your global richness; I ended up in the top .01% until I realized that two zeros needed to be shaved off for a more accurate representation.

It’s easy for me to be critical when I see a house in shambles and the resident wasting money on car accessories and bling-bling. But one of the reasons I like the idea of short term missions is that you can go just about anywhere in the world and it will force you to change the way you think about the things you want or need. I may not waste money on something as silly and useless as those spinning rims you see on cars these days, but living with poor people in the Philippines for two weeks helped me to snap out of a myopic mindset. I just hope I can maintain a more global perspective and respond wisely in the area of stewardship. When I got back home, I was hyper-sensitive all kinds of things, from the decadence of television commercials to Disney World vacations, to how big our houses need to be.

I still want things, but there are extra hurdles in the process of going from wishful thinking to acquisition.

Now, if I could muster the discipline, I could probably purge about 70% of all the stuff I have accumulated over the years…