Chapter 2: What We Need: More Than You Ever Imagined


America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. A typical middle-class, even lower-class, American cannot even imagine what life is like for the typical citizen of Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, or Indonesia. Our standard of living far exceeds any other developed nation. What we take for granted as an essential part of our way of life—unlimited electricity, clean running water, refrigeration, and television—is far beyond the means of a significant portion of the world's population. Worldwide, the average per capita gross national product is currently about $7,200. The United States per capita of $36,200 is five times as large, as shown in Figure 2.1. With U.S. median household income hovering around $40,000 and median net worth of $71,600, the average American's wealth is unimaginable for most of the world's inhabitants.

$36,200 and above

United States, Luxembourg


Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Hong Kong, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland


Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Qatar, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom


Argentina, Bahrain, Greece, Israel, Kuwait, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan


Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Malaysia, Martinique, Slovenia


Worldwide average


Algeria, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Guadeloupe, Iran, Lebanon, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Russia, Thailand, South Africa, Turkey, Uruguay


Albania, Angola, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe

Under $1,000

Afghanistan, Congo Republic, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Zambia

Source: The World Factbook, CIA, 2001

Figure 2.1: Gross Domestic Product per Capita for Selected Countries, 2000

Why People Buy Things They Don't Need. Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior
Why People Buy Things They Dont Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior
ISBN: 0793186021
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 137
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