How Rich Are You?

As a writer, I think I cleared a little over $5 last month on royalties for my e-novel.  As a teacher, I make less than most people in the professional world with degrees.  I wanted to give all of us who make very little money yet continue in the writing or teaching game a little encouragement.

I’ve been to a couple of places outside the U.S. that would be considered poverty areas, and have seen people living with very little.  I saw a man in China who was deranged, homeless, wearing nothing but the dirt he rolled around in, covering himself with a matted blanket, eating from the contents of a trash can.  I’ve seen four children in Mexico living in a wooden shack with a blue plastic tarp for a roof, kicking a rock around outside the front of their dwelling as if it were a soccer ball.

If you want to have some perspective, go to this website ( and see how you rank among the world’s “wealthy”.  If that is not enough, then read the following (note that because of changing statistics, this observation may change some, but not enough to invalidate it):

If we could reduce the world’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the demographics would look something like this:

The village would have 61 Asians, 13 Africans, 12 Europeans, 9 Latin Americans, and 5 from the USA and Canada

50 would be male, 50 would be female

75 would be non-white; 25 white

80 would live in substandard housing

16 would be unable to read or write

50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation

33 would be without access to a safe water supply

39 would lack access to improved sanitation

24 would not have any electricity (And of the 76 that do
have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.)

8 people would have access to the Internet

1 would have a college education

1 would have HIV

2 would be near birth; 1 near death

5 would control 32% of the entire world’s wealth; all 5 would be US citizens

48 would live on less than US$ 2 a day

20 would live on less than US$ 1 a day

When we consider the global perspective, many of us would see that we are living with much wealth.  I also think about whether “wealth” really means money.  Why do I continue teaching?  Why not go out and get a job in the business world where I could make three times my current salary?  It is because I “make” something much better than money.  I also write novels (I hope) that cut to the quick of what society needs to hear and not what it wants to hear.

I will leave you with Taylor Mali:

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

10 thoughts on “How Rich Are You?

  1. What an effective statistical breakdown. It makes it much easier to appreciate the disparity when one thinks of it in terms of 100 people, and especially the portrayal of extreme wealth coupled with 70% living on less than $2 per day. Very interesting blog – thank you.

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