Friday 4 September 2009

Less than $ 2 a day

Extreme poverty is quantified as having to live on less than $ 2 a day.

Now, if you exclude rent, $ 2  is not such a bad deal in, say, Bombay. You can get two reasonably filling meals and buy two bus or train tickets for that amount. Maybe you’d still have some left to send your child to school.

A monthly salary of $ 60 comes to Rs 3,000. That’s a very low salary, even by Indian standards, but it was my first salary!

My point is not that $ 2 is actually fine; my point is that we should be looking at what people should be able to buy, at a minimum, and what fraction of that they can buy. 

The phrase ‘should be’ is loaded. Should everyone be able to buy a bachelor’s degree for their children? Or even 12 years of schooling? Are there jobs out there that can efficiently use 12 years’ of education? If the person so educated can’t use his learning at his workplace, can he use it to tackle the complexity of life outside his workplace?

If there are no easy answers, and answers depend on ‘ground realities’, is there any point in going looking for easy but misleading answers… like $ 2 a day?

1 comment:

N&P said...

Stange that a small one cots 1 Euro whereas the bigf one cost 2.5 times! Do customers buy 2 small ones to save the 0.5 euro?