Thursday, November 24
Social relativity comes into play. "That is, only the relative wealth of a person is important, the absolute level does not really matter, as soon as everyone is above the level of having their immediate survival needs fulfilled," writes Tor Nørretranders for edge.org. "There is now strong and consistent evidence (from fields such as microeconomics, experimental economics, psychology, sociolology and primatology) that it doesn't really matter how much you earn, as long as you earn more than your wife's sister's husband."
So consider the graph. US citizens should be quite pleased with their relative wealth in comparisons with other countries. The US share of global personal wealth is 42 percent, up a percentage point from the previous year, according to the Allianz Global Wealth Report 2016, and the per-capita share is hefty, too.
The media often described US voters as yearning for change from the 2016 presidential election. "Trump's victory is widely attributed to the public's thirst for something new, which he represented and Hillary Clinton didn't. It would be more accurate to say the outcome stemmed from too much change - which has discombobulated conservatives, as well as liberals," notes Steve Chapman for Reason. He goes on to explain that is why the Trump campaign with the slogan "Make America Great Again" resonated with so many voters.
What rankles, though all voters may not realize, is the distribution of the US share of 42 percent wealth - which totalled $67 trillion in 2013. CNN covered the Congressonal Budget Office report on wealth and inequality: "The top 10% of families - those who had at least $942,000 - held 76% of total wealth. The average amount of wealth in this group was $4 million. Everyone else in the top 50% of the country accounted for 23% of total wealth, with an average of $316,000 per family. That leaves just 1% of the total pie for the entire bottom half of the population."
The nation selected billionaire Donald Trump to solve the conundrum. And remember, relativity can take multiple paths - the country's share can decline with either increased or decreased inequality or the country's share of wealth rises with either increased or decreased inequality.
And I must conclude by confiding that writing mystery novels about daily life in a small village in Afghanistan that lacks most of the modern conveniences we take for granted in the United States has made me feel very wealthy and thankful. Thank you to all my readers.