28 January 2015

Zoe Williams shows numeracy is not her strong point

Stuart Broad, the England cricketer, tweeted:
I've heard if you earn minimum wage in England you're in the top 10% earners in the World. #stay #humble 
— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) January 27, 2015
which apparently provoked a backlash. Renowned economist Zoe Williams added her insightful analysis thus:
"The cricketer’s minimum wage tweet shows numeracy is not his strong point. ... Money doesn’t mean anything out of context: its value is determined by what you can buy with it. Most people figure this out by the age of about seven."
Embarrassingly for Zoe, Stuart was right. Working full-time at the minimum wage earns £13, 124 per year. Plug that into the Global Rich List calculator, which, by the way, uses "Purchasing Power Parity Dollars (PPP$) in order to take into account the difference in cost of living between countries", and you're in the top 5.84% in the world. After accounting for cost of living differences.

You carry on being outraged on behalf of the relatively low income in the UK when you think they are being belittled Zoe, and I'll carry on being outraged on behalf of the absolutely low income in the rest of the world, in places like Gabon, where life expectancy is just 63 years, and 1 in 5 people live on less than the equivalent of what you could buy here for $2 per day. Just maybe try not to make such major conceptual errors when you are mocking people who point out the magnitude of global inequality.


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