Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [ujeni] Economist

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 6 , Apr 4, 2001
      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 2 of 6 , Apr 4, 2001
        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
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.