Monday, June 21, 2010

What does your USD 20 mean?

What does your USD 20 mean?

USD 20. With all our talk of currencies, foreign exchange rates and ubiquitous (over) use of the word, “recession”, our ideas of what USD 20 translates to, what it means across the world has shifted. Between the impact of the global currency collapse (hi there, Euro!) and the slow trudge of economic development, what USD 20 means has dramatically altered.

Almost half the world- that is to say, three billion people- lives on less that USD 2.50 a day. USD 20 is equivalent to the daily living allowance of eight people: you could ostensibly feed and shelter for one day, eight people across the world (or one person for eight days).

Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than USD2 a day, with one in three living on less than USD1 a day. With USD 20, you could help at least five people (at USD 4/person) have access to clean water for a day.

For every USD1 in aid a developing country receives, over USD25 is spent on debt repayment. In theory, your USD 20 could repay up to 95% of a country’s debt on every dollar it receives.

Yes, everything has its price and apparently USD 20 can get you a whole lot:

In the Philippines (where I currently live), USD 20 is equivalent to PhP 915.400. The new poverty line for Asia Pacific stands at USD 1.35/day. 27 million Filipinos live below it. With PhP 915, you can buy nearly a week’s groceries or two 3D cinema tickets and popcorn or a nice date at a semi-fancy Greek restaurant or get your hair cut at the ever-so-fancy Toni & Guy, with change left over for a huge bowl of pasta. Or, help 670 Filipinos (approximately) hit the minimum poverty line for one day.

USD 20 is more than just a bunch of green bills, it means more than that. What does USD 20 mean in your world? What do you do with USD 20? What kind of things do you buy? Would you miss USD 20 in your daily life?

Read, Think, Discuss and Act!

Source: Global Issues- Poverty Facts and Stats;


Kris said...

Risha, thanks for this. I'm glad to see something that goes beyond just "making someone's day." Not that there's anything wrong at all with spoiling someone just because you appreciate them... But it's nice to get perspective.

Ella Unread said...

This is a great post Risha, especially because I never told any of you guys that USD 20 in my country are a lot of money! 20 Dollars equal almost 80 pesos, you can almost buy a pair of converse sneakers with that (they are around 135 pesos), you can buy 3 tickets for a 3D movie (and our 3D room is premiering this week, the first 3D room ever in this city!) plus a bag of popcorn or a is a lot of money here, indeed!

Mel said...

USD20 = AUD22.89

Yesterday afternoon I had around $23 AU in my wallet, and now it's gone. I have no idea where it went, and I didn't buy anything. I mean, there were some fundraiser chocolates for sale at work, and I stopped at McDonalds on the way home for a hasty dinner. Oh, and then I grabbed a coffee for afternoon tea...

I'm not proud of the fact that I thoughtlessly burned through $23. But in Australia that's really not that much money. if it gets to the end of the pay week, and that's all I have, I start to panic.

CH said...

Firstly, thanks for defining 'ubiquitous'. :) I was just about to open

Wow - this is powerful. The cost of living here in Oz is certainly higher than what it is in many other countries but I'm challenged by the reality of how far my 'leftover' money could be stretched in the countries that need it most

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