How rich ARE you? Find out your exact ranking on The Global Rich Index

Great post today from Jeanine Skowronski at Yahoo Finance about the Global Rich List, a website that seeks to enable you to determine exactly where your income ranks you compared to every other person on the planet.

For example, if you make $52,000 a year (the median American household income for 2009), you are the 58,252,719 richest person in the world (or in the top 0.97 percentile of all moneymakers).

You can even get a widget from the site that lets you share your exact ranking with others through your Facebook page or personal website.

Far from being an effort to enable you to boast in your riches, however, the site purports to show just how much you can do with your comparatively vast wealth:

The site uses your wealth ranking to invite you to share your wealth with others. It told me, for example, I could buy 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras for just $8 (as opposed to 12 organic oranges for the same price) or a $30 first aid kit for a village in Haiti (instead of an ER DVD box set). However silly these suggestions may be (who spends $30 to watch ER?), charitable giving is clearly the point.

The site is fascinating and fun–after all, who can resist taking fifteen seconds in order to determine where they rank compared not only to the Joneses but to every Jones worldwide?

According to the site, Poke “wanted to do something which would help people understand, in real terms, where they stand globally. They want us to realize that, in fact, most of us who are able to view this web page are in the privileged minority.”

The assumption, however, that once we realize how privileged we are, we will become more generous in sharing with others runs counter to two stark realities:

  1. Giving is learned, not latent. It is not a lack of information that makes us less generous, nor the presence of information that makes us more so–nor even the presence of compelling opportunities for giving. (Aha–we pause at that last thought! We fundraiser types are conditioned to believe that compelling opportunities are the necessary and sufficient condition for giving among those with the capacity to do so. So, um, how’s that working for you?)
  2. The more we have, the less we give. The most generous people in the United States are those who make well below the median American household income. In fact, the more we make above that amount, the less we give away as a percentage of our income.

So what are you doing today to help your champions learn giving? Are you doing anything more than presenting compelling opportunities for giving? What one thing can you do today to coach your champions to grow in their generosity?

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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5 Responses to How rich ARE you? Find out your exact ranking on The Global Rich Index

  1. Don says:

    Eric,

    Thanks for continuing to hold up a mirror so we can see ourselves. Sometimes I wonder if we are really looking or merely glancing to make sure we’re somewhat presentable.

    Another dimension I see in this is the use of guilt. Although people may not have purchased ER last week, surely this is something to feel bad about in comparison to others.

    Sadly, we (as the Church) have learned well how to even use the scriptures to manipulate one another into giving out of guilt, ignoring foundational truths such as I Cor. 9:7)

    By the Lord’s grace, we’ll get it yet!

  2. Jon Hirst says:

    Eric, thanks for sharing the site. I think it is so fascinating how we handle information like this. We assume that once people know how “rich” they are in comparison that this will spark action. However, we are all disappointed when it doesn’t.

    One of the big problems is that the motivator of “comparative richness” doesn’t work. If I get up in the morning and don’t feel rich compared to those around me then I still will not be moved by this information.

    That is why what you share about “learned generosity” is so important. Only when we learn to be generous will we give even when we don’t feel like we can afford it!

    Jon

  3. Justin says:

    Eric,
    Not sure if you’re familiar with the death clock (http://www.deathclock.com/), but it too would be an interesting thing to consider in this very context. Perhaps it would be a helpful thing to know after you find out how rich you are compared to the rest of the world when you should expect to die? A comparative bookend of sorts.

    As an aside, this could be very helpful for planned giving :).

    It strikes me that even the inevitability of death is often not stimulus enough to produce meaningful and lasting change – def. of transformation. Finish line in mind or not, giving is still learned and not latent in champions.

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