Sunday, October 16, 2011

Statistics and You!

October 16, 2011

Dear Person who says they are not the 99%,

I had planned to let this subject drop and never come back to it, but the sensibilities of an educated person won't let me. When you say, "I am not the 99%" makes you sound like an idiot.

Now, I understand what you are trying to say is that you don't agree with the people in the "We are the 99%" movement. I get that. However, you need to learn math. The 99% number people are throwing around is a statistic related to wealth distribution. This isn't political, it simply says that the wealthiest 1% of Americans own 30-40% of the wealth in this country.

So, unless you are in the top 1% (that is, you have more money then 99% of the rest of the population) and qualify as "filthy rich" then you are part of the 99%. Please learn to understand the math here. You can certainly disagree with any political, or economic, or philosophical movement you want to, but statistics aren't politics or ideologies. They are a measurement of something. They are essentially no different then saying "a full can of Coke contains 12 ounces".

Statistics are a way to represent information. Some statistics are bunk and simply made up with no science behind them. Others are misquoted, often to put a confusing media spin or marketing message on something. Here we are looking at numbers used to represent and communicate a measurement of wealth. If you don't agree with a study's statistical results, you can question how they were derived, or the accuracy of the science behind them, but a good sicentist spends their time measuring the world as accuratly as possible and won't put bogus numbers in their work. How you react to the information is your own personal choice.

The 99% and the 1% are numbers representing the entire US population. If you aren't part of the US population measured in the study, then there are different numbers to represent you. So please do the math before you look like an idiot running around going, "I worked my way through college with three jobs and live in a small apartment where I am trying to start my own business, but I am not the 99%". You bloody are. Welcome to the world of statistics.


The Letter Writer

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