Voting to be poorer 4

A majority of those who live in the Crimea have voted to join Russia.

They will likely be the poorer for their decision.

If what remains of Ukraine were to become – as many Ukrainians wish it would – more integrated with the West, it would likely be much better off.

Here is a table, from Wikipedia, comparing average monthly wages. For us, it contains some surprises, eg that Austria (at $3,437) has a higher average wage than the US (at $3,263), and that Germany ($2,720) has a lower national wage than Ireland (at $2,997).

The average wage in the Russian Federation, at $1,215, is lower than that of bankrupt Greece, at $2,300.

It’s a rough figure based on data from 72 countries, omitting some of the world’s poorest nations. All figures are adjusted to reflect variations in the cost of living from one country to another. [PPP = Purchasing Power Parity] 

rank Country Monthly average wage $PPP
1 Luxembourg $4,089
2 Norway $3,678
3 Austria $3,437
4 United States $3,263
5 United Kingdom $3,065
6 Belgium $3,035
7 Sweden $3,023
8 Ireland $2,997
9 Finland $2,925
10 South Korea $2,903
11 France $2,886
12 Canada $2,724
13 Germany $2,720
14 Singapore $2,616
15 Australia $2,610
16 Cyprus $2,605
17 Japan $2,522
18 Italy $2,445
19 Iceland $2,431
20 Spain $2,352
21 Greece $2,300
22 New Zealand $2,283
23 South Africa $1,838
24 Malta $1,808
25 Israel $1,804
26 Czech Republic $1,786
27 Croatia $1,756
28 Turkey $1,731
29 Qatar $1,690
30 Hong Kong $1,545
31 Poland $1,536
32 Slovakia $1,385
33 Hungary $1,374
34 Republic of Macedonia $1,345
35 Bosnia & Herzegovina $1,338
36 Estonia $1,267
37 Russian Federation $1,215
38 Jamaica $1,135
39 Lithuania $1,109
40 Argentina $1,108
41 Latvia $1,098
42 Serbia $1,058
43 Chile $1,021
44 Botswana $996
45 Malaysia $961
46 Belarus $959
47 Romania $954
48 Bahrain $917
49 Panama $831
50 Mauritius $783
51 Brazil $778
52 Macau $758
53 Kazakhstan $753
54 Bulgaria $750
55 Colombia $692
56 Ukraine $686
57 China $656
58 Mexico $609
59 Georgia $603
60 Azerbaijan $596
61 Egypt $548
62 Thailand $489
63 Armenia $471
64 Dominican Republic $462
65 Moldova $438
66 Mongolia $415
67 Syria $364
68 Kyrgyzstan $336
69 India $295
70 Philippines $279
71 Pakistan $255
72 Tajikistan $227

Other tables on the page give OECD statistics, and official national statistics. They demonstrate that the US and western Europe – including almost all the EU’s eastern European affiliates – plus Japan, Israel and South Korea, are doing best; better than Russia and very much better than China and India.

There’s a great deal more to be discovered from the figures. They reward examination. (Eg the average gross monthly wage in Cuba is $19!)

But our concern at present is with Russia and Ukraine. We are not above outbursts of Schadenfreude, and we expect to find occasion to indulge in it when the Ukrainians who voted to join Russia complain about their comparative poverty. We confess that we look forward to it.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, Germany, Greece, Russia, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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This post has 4 comments.

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  • Roger

    The people probably didn’t even know what they were voting for, and I doubt if the results were real. How the votes are counted, and by whom, is far more telling. I assume it was rigged, just like our elections.
    I agree with the thrust of the article, but I’m always skeptical about the use of statistics, especially averages. Much of the time averages are used to obscure inconvenient details. Let’s see the complete breakdown of goods and services, government employees, farming/blue collar/white collar, etc.
    Is the average monthly wage in this table before or after taxes? Do the people pay for their own housing and medical care? Should government employees be included since they are outside of the real economy?

  • Frank
  • Don L

    I did an unscietific search…best number I found for those Crimeans that claimed to have any prior relationship with either the USSR or the New Russian Federation was about 56%..far.less, prior to the take over, about 37%, expressed any interest in becoming part of the Russian Federation. So, 97% of those voting wanted to become Russian subjects. Lots of questions about that vote.

    Not limited to the European theatre, “Voting to be poorer”…those who support Nobama certainly vote to be poorer and less free; those who are establishment conservatives vote the same; and, in fact very few people know the difference.

    Most have exchanged thought for feelings and informed consent for .ignorance..and most folk nebulously vote for the candidate who will be a leader and change things for the better.

    The result is a populace of losers and a ruling class of self-serving duplcitous career politicians. Neither politicians nor the followers think far enough ahead to understand they are on the path to serfdom. The road to hell is paved with the altruistic & socialistic stupidity of good intentions.

  • liz

    It makes me wonder just how much actual “voting” was going on there.
    Could it possibly be that the Russian version of the Black Panther/Eric Holder partnership was a factor here?