Chances Are All of Your Problems are #FirstWorldProblems


The #FirstWorldProblems meme has always annoyed me, and it has hung around far longer than it should have. It is not that things like this aren't first world problems, they definitely are:
“I have to get dressed so that I don’t look too lazy when I go out to pay the gardener.”

“I cant find the right balance between my fan and my electric blanket.”

“I went to go babysit for an hour and the kids didn’t know what their own wi-fi password was.”

It is annoying because most people in the first world, myself included, wouldn't know what a third world problem was. We can say things like 'poverty', 'poor sanitation', 'lack of education' but we really have no idea.

In any city of any size a homeless panhandler can count on at least $2 (US) per day. But this list includes more than 40 countries where the majority of the population lives on less than that, in 10 of those countries it's more than 80% of the population and it is not a complete list. Only countries developed enough to have data available are included. If you make more than $25,000 / year (US) it puts you in the top 2% of the world's earners. The Occupy Wall Street movement kept bringing up the 1% vs. the 99% but in the global sense, the 1% includes anyone who makes more than $31,000 USD, benefits inclusive.

I'm not saying that $25k / year makes you rich by North American standards or that you don't have problems but anyone with a roof over their head in North America cannot relate to a world where earning minimum wage would make you 'wealthy' compared to your neighbors. Try to imagine a world where there are no schools, no hospitals, no grocery stores, no electricity, no running water and where none of your friends, neighbors or relatives make enough money in a year to buy an iPhone even if they gave up shelter and eating.

Most of the #FirstWorldProblems meme smacks of entitlement and of rubbing the faces of the poor in how poor they are (although it can be assumed that they are not reading it). It can be taken as laughing at ourselves, but it can also be seen as gloating or at least demonstrates an ignorance of how well off we actually are by comparison.

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