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Re: [ujeni] Economist

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  • Daniel Dudley
    Not that it would do any good, have you written a letter to the editor? Perhaps you could include several pictures from your album. However, one of the
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 2, 2001
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      Not that it would do any good, have you written a letter to the editor?
      Perhaps you could include several pictures from your album.

      However, one of the brightest teachers that I worked with was sitting in the
      staff room reading a news paper article that mentioned how poor Malawians
      are. He was quite offended, he said, "What does it mean to be poor? I have
      a house, a decent job, and I am happy. I don't consider myself to be poor."
      By his definition, he wasn't poor, but by Percapita income compared to the
      rest of the world, his income was way below a lot of other countries. I
      would like to think that a lot of Malawians would think this way, but
      because the rest of the world tells them that they are poor, the think that
      they are.

      I don't know, I may be talking out of my ass, but I thought a lot about this
      person and what it really means to be poor. Maybe what my friend mentioned
      were the assets that the article was talking about, I haven't seen it...yet.

      Dan
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    • Weber
      Hi Dan, nice to hear (or read) from you...I agree with you about our concept of poor. I haven t seen the Economist yet either. It sounds like they are
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 4, 2001
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        Hi Dan, nice to hear (or read) from you...I agree with you about our concept
        of poor. I haven't seen the Economist yet either. It sounds like they are
        showing a neighborhood like we lived in, in Blantyre. It would be
        considered middle class by Malawi standards...poor by ours. There were
        separate brick houses...600 square feet...yards and a few cars (owned by the
        companies some of our neighbors worked for if they were newish). Our
        neighbors worked for private companies in lower to mid--level management
        positions or were mid-level civil servants, all I think with educations
        beyond secondary school. They were proud and generally happy with their
        achievements, what they could provide for their families and their way of
        life. It was a wonderfully comfortable neighborhood, extremely well kept;
        we loved our little house, the neighbors and the neighborhood. But, they
        were living way beyond what most people in Malawi were. A life of a
        teacher, a civil servant and a management-level employee aren't the norm.
        Our neighbors probably earned just about the same or a somewhat more than
        our Peace Corps salary. Most of the rest of the Blantyre wasn't like
        that...either much richer or much, much poorer. So if the article is
        depicting that as the norm, it doesn't show a true picture. I think the
        kind of life our neighbors lived was what most people strived for and felt
        was the good life. It was, actually. But you're right, we do need to
        adjust what we think of as poor, even here. People feel poorer when they
        are considered so, it saps ones pride. Cathy


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Daniel Dudley <papadud@...>
        To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
        Date: Wednesday, April 04, 2001 1:53 AM
        Subject: Re: [ujeni] Economist


        >Not that it would do any good, have you written a letter to the editor?
        >Perhaps you could include several pictures from your album.
        >
        >However, one of the brightest teachers that I worked with was sitting in
        the
        >staff room reading a news paper article that mentioned how poor Malawians
        >are. He was quite offended, he said, "What does it mean to be poor? I
        have
        >a house, a decent job, and I am happy. I don't consider myself to be
        poor."
        > By his definition, he wasn't poor, but by Percapita income compared to
        the
        >rest of the world, his income was way below a lot of other countries. I
        >would like to think that a lot of Malawians would think this way, but
        >because the rest of the world tells them that they are poor, the think that
        >they are.
        >
        >I don't know, I may be talking out of my ass, but I thought a lot about
        this
        >person and what it really means to be poor. Maybe what my friend mentioned
        >were the assets that the article was talking about, I haven't seen
        it...yet.
        >
        >Dan
        >_________________________________________________________________
        >Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • Mark Holland
        Thanks, Cathy, this is essentially what I was trying to say. Certainly there exist Malawians with assets, and (less certainly, but I still believe that) life
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 4, 2001
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          Thanks, Cathy, this is essentially what I was trying to say. Certainly there
          exist Malawians with assets, and (less certainly, but I still believe that)
          life in general would be better if people were granted permanent title to
          land. The article implied that the type of life Cathy describes below was
          standard for Malawians, which is what bugged me. "People in poor countries
          have assets - lots of them." If you take the average house and maize-field
          size in Kauma (a village outside LLW), and divide it by the number of people
          using it, I would suspect you'd come with about 4 sq feet of house and 50 sq
          feet of field. The notion that an average Malawian could utilize these
          "assets" as collateral to "raise capital" and thereby go into business is
          crazy. It has about a dozen false premises. And, IMO, so does the Economist's
          unstated but implied opinion that all could be well in the third would if they
          would just pull up their socks.

          I'll shut up about this now, sorry to rant so much.
          Mark

          [BTW, Dan, I often write outraged letters to the Economist. To my great
          surprise they haven't printed any yet, nor have they publicly apologized and
          admitted how wrong they often are. Must be something to do with my use of the
          term "sweatshop" :->]

          Weber wrote:

          > were living way beyond what most people in Malawi were. A life of a
          > teacher, a civil servant and a management-level employee aren't the norm.
          > Our neighbors probably earned just about the same or a somewhat more than
          > our Peace Corps salary. Most of the rest of the Blantyre wasn't like
          > that...either much richer or much, much poorer. So if the article is
          > depicting that as the norm, it doesn't show a true picture. I think the
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