Monday, June 25, 2007

Everyone's in the Middle?

Before dismissing 1 Timothy 6:17ff as being for "those REAL rich people":

I have noticed that no matter how much $ Americans had when they were growing up the tend to see themselves as "middle-class". I know exceedingly wealthy folks who regard themselves as such because they know a handful of folks who have a lot more. Or as someone said to me recently "There is always another Bill Gates around the corner" -- so they must not be "rich".

Then again both in my personal experience with folks who grew up with very little and in reading Mitchell Duneier's book "Sidewalk" you find folks at the other end of the spectrum who won't use the word poor to describe themselves. Partly this is an identity issue (who wants so say they were poor? or rich for that matter?) and partly it is perspective. In a clip from the movie "Killer of Sheep" (regarded by Richard Roeper as the greatest African American film of all time!) there is a man who says (I'll have to paraphrase here) "I ain't poor -- look at so-and-so, he eats grass! that's poor! I ain't poor!"

So no one wants to be regarded as rich. But I'd say that if you live in a household with income greater than $50K annually, and/or if you have (or will have) a college degree, you (and I) are flat out RICH. Check out for perspective. If you go there and enter your income you will find out what number richest person in the world you are. Most fill find that they are in the top 5%, at least. Probably the top 1%! So if you are among the richest, even 10% of people in the world currently -- and that means you'd be in the top 1 or 2% of the richest people in the history of the world -- I'd say that makes the label "rich" appropriate.

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