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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Reporters Say the Darndest Things: CNN and Per Capita GDP

Reporters Say the Darndest Things: CNN and Per Capita GDP

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Sunday, 25 July 2010 14:18

CNN had a segment on inequality in Brazil in which it told viewers:

"The country's Gross Domestic Product -- the value of goods and services it produces -- was $2 trillion in 2009, the 10th largest in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook. But per capita income for the same year was estimated at $10,200, the 105th highest in the world. Simply stated, most of the wealth being produced is not finding its way down to most Brazilians."

Actually, per capita income reveals nothing about inequality. It is simply GDP divided by the population. Brazil has a relatively low per capita income because it has a large population. The number for per capita income would be the same if everyone had the same income or one person had it all.

The piece could have referred to Brazil's Gini index, which is a measure on inequality. At 56.7, it is one of the highest in the world, although it has been dropping in recent years.

(HT to Robert Naiman.)

 

Comments (11)Add Comment
sigh
written by Evan Harper, July 25, 2010 2:49
Jesus Christ, where do they find these people? And how do you manage, Dean, to keep a straight face when you criticize them? If I were in your shoes, I couldn't help but resort to over-the-top invective. They clearly deserve it.
...
written by izzatzo, July 25, 2010 5:33
Simply stated, most of the wealth being produced is not finding its way down to most Brazilians."


See Bubba, I told you CNN was coming around to the Teabagger Theory of Zero Sum Trickle Down. Finally the liberal media got it right about how illegal immigrants in the US acquired and redistributed our income to themselves, and how much income per capita would jump back up if they were all deported. Even stupid liberals from CNN know that when the numerator gets smaller per capita income increases.
...
written by AndrewDover, July 25, 2010 5:56
http://www.visualizingeconomic...ini-index/

shows the relationship between GINI and per capital GDP.
Why be surprised?
written by Hal, July 25, 2010 6:16
US TV is simply laughable. All the women are chosen for the looks, brains be damned, and the men are chosen for their stupidity which is highly prized since it largely reflects the IQ of their audience.
out da bottle
written by frankenduf, July 26, 2010 8:00
pretty good expose- bunch of african countries followed by bunch of central american countries, followed by the us- even iran is less stratified!- this proves orwell's point that propaganda will call our stratification 'freedom' while in the third world, any 8th grader will call it corruption
...
written by PeonInChief, July 26, 2010 9:39
A more interesting piece would have compared the GINIs of the US and Canada, showing what that means to the less rich.
Reporters
written by floccina, July 26, 2010 10:39
They write well and if they are on TV they look good on camera, if they are on radio or TV they have great voices but they generally know little about what they communicate. They are not selected for knowledge of subject but for communication ability.
...
written by Jim Naureckas, July 26, 2010 10:49
The CIA's list includes entities like the European Union and "World," as well as non-countries like Puerto Rico and Hong Kong. Wikipedia's version of the list, which only enumerates the actual countries, places Brazil at 82nd out of 194.
IMHO
written by a, July 27, 2010 2:49
"US TV is simply laughable. All the women are chosen for the looks, brains be damned, and the men are chosen for their stupidity which is highly prized since it largely reflects the IQ of their audience. "

While this is true, I'm not sure if there is a connection with the mistake Mr. Baker is discussing. It was my impression that the person you see on TV doesn't write what he or she is saying; that is done by some unseen gnome, who is therefore chosen not for his looks but, one would hope, his intelligence and ability to write. Which makes the CNN mistake all the worse - if even the supposedly intelligent people don't understand such simple concepts, it's not saying much for the American system of education.
...
written by air max, August 24, 2010 8:19
thank you
...
written by christian louboutin, August 24, 2010 9:04
and air max 95.

they offer 24 hours online service, and very very good customer service.
i buy the air max 90

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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