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The nation with the highest living standard in human history.

Whoa, that's pretty darn far from a fact. The UN has been picking Canada, although its reasons are probably political, and as far as the poor are concerned it's probably some socialist country like Sweden. I don't actually know. I just know that you can't go around making such statements as if they aren't opinions.

- I looked that up recently and report from memory, but the details should be available in any almanac. - Tim

I assume you are referring to the claim about the standard of living in the United States. I would politely take issue with the notion that one can simply look up a "fact" like that in an almanac.

As a counterpoint, it is worth pointing out that Canada has been ranked number one on the United Nations Human Development Index for about six years running. I would not claim that this means that Canada has the highest standard of living in the world, however.

LarrySanger edited the above two paragraphs, doing his part to try to keep this wiki civil. :-)

Yes, I believe one can look up per capita income in an almanac. - Tim

Standard of living is per capita income? I think that's even further from a fact...at least, you would be hard-pressed to defend it. If I was paid well, but had to work 20 hours a day in a poorly ventilated cardboard tube and eat rice-cakes, would I have a high standard of living?

LarrySanger has a sneakin' suspicion that this dispute has been a SemanticDispute from the beginning.

Well, when I say "far from a fact", I don't mean false...just not true. :)

LarrySanger would like to point out that, according to TheLawOfNoncontradiction, if it ain't true, it's false.

That's not the law of non-contradiction, that's TertiumNonDatur. And it doesn't always hold. For instance, the sentence x+3=4 is neither true nor false until we assign a value to x. That's the very essence of semantics.

When you say "that" in "That's not the law of non-contradiction," what are you referring to? See TheLawOfNoncontradiction for text relevant to your second claim; obviously, propositions are required for the law to apply, not propositional functions. -- Oh, I see, you're making the point that TheLawOfNoncontradiction is different from ThePrincipleOfBivalence. Fair play, if you mean to say that Tim's claim isn't, in fact, a proposition. -- There, I've supplied brief entries explaining these terms to the uninitiated. -- LarrySanger

Income is the most commonly used measure of standard of living. An alternative measure is comsumption, closely related to income but adjusted for taxaxtion.

Consumption per capita by nation, 1985, as a percentage of US total:

United States: 100
West Germany: 70
France: 70
Italy: 65
Japan: 65
United Kingdom: 65
Austria: 60
Finland: 60
Soviet Union: 30

Figures are rounded off but accurate. Data first published by A. Bergson, "The USSR Before the Fall: How Poor and Why," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5:4 (Fall 1991), p. 29-44, 31. Reprinted in JulianSimon's 'The State of Humanity'.

I propose the following for this page. As I understand it, this page is a subpage under 'UnitedStates', and so it should be about the standard of living of the UnitedStates.

Removed: 53,55d4

I think this is a thoughtful way to write about the issues, rather than to simply argue about them. It is possible to achieve balance. --JimboWales

The standard of living of the UnitedStates is among the highest in the world. By measures of material wealth such as PerCapitaIncome or PerCapitaConsumption?, the UnitedStates ranks higher than all but a handful of small city-state countries. Of course, StandardOfLiving? should be measured by more than just those factors: other factors include legal structure (freedom of speech, freedom of the press), crime (which is higher in the UnitedStates than in many other high-income countries), etc.

Concerns may also be raised as to whether averages are the best way to coompare the standard of living, as opposed to Pareto indexes of some sort. Some oil rich countries like Iraq may have a high average level of income, even though ordinary people aren't doing any of the consuming! Measures which take into account, in some fashion, inequality, should probably be considered.

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Last edited February 4, 2001 9:02 am by JoshuaGrosse (diff)