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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 38-39 of the manuscript of Deirdre McCloskey‘s extensive and insightful review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century; (quoted here with Deirdre’s kind permission) (original emphasis; footnote excluded):

The usual way, especially on the left, of talking about poverty relies on the percentage distribution of income, starting fixedly for example at a relative “poverty line.”  As the progressive Australian economist Peter Saunders notes, however, such a definition of poverty “automatically shift[s] upwards whenever the real incomes (and hence the poverty line) are rising.”  The poor are always with us, but merely by definition, the opposite of the Lake Wobegon effect – it’s not that all the children are above average, but that always there is a bottom fifth or tenth or whatever in any distribution whatsoever.  Of course.

[The Saunders citation is: Peter Saunders, “Researching Poverty: Methods, Results, and Impact,” Economic and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 24, June 2013, pp. 205-218.]