By Emmett on Tuesday, December 19 2006, 13:47 - Permalink
From The Consumerist:
A recent United Nations study on personal wealth found that having just $2,200 per adult puts a household in the top 50% of the world's >richest. However, thanks to large amounts of consumer debt, "many people in high-income countries have negative net worth and - somewhat >paradoxically - are among the poorest people in the world in terms of household wealth."
What does it truly mean to be wealthy? The American child of middle class parents with student loans and credit cards is much more secure in his access to all the accouterments of wealth for the duration of their entire life than a debt-free child of Ugandan refugees. That security is the true measure of wealth. Merely counting up the quantifiable assets (or debts) held is ridiculously simplistic. First, there are personal intangible assets (the American's college degree), familial assets (the American's parents probably have positive networth), and most importantly societal assets (the security that men won't come and raze your house). And I'd be wealthier renting an apartment, in hock to my neck to the credit card companies in America than living completely debt-free in Uganda.