Posted by: CJ | September 28, 2010

Interesting…and yet…

Matt Yglesias posts a graph about actual wealth inequality, what people think it is, and what people would like it to be.

Click on the link to see the picture. The short version is it’s worse than people guess, and what people guess is worse than what people want.

I think it’s good to be reminded that most people don’t particularly get the differences in wealth in this country. The same way they don’t particularly grok how large the country is and how diverse its citizenry is. And, at the heart of it, how ok that is as long as we don’t get freaked out about people being different.

But on the flip side, people are bad with numbers. They don’t understand magnitudes very well, or what different incomes let you buy or not buy. They get confused at the difference between hundreds of thousands, millions, and billions. They can’t average over a county, state, or national populace very well, they generally don’t understand basic statistical fallacies. So, yeah, people don’t guess the right numbers. But I’m not sure what that should tell me, if anything…

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