Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A proxy for the wealth of a society

The number of stray dogs walking around.

The more there are, (and the more emaciated such dogs look), the poorer the society.

By this metric, India is about the poorest place I've been to, which might not be exactly right but is probably close. Delhi had tons of stray dogs, and they were some of the sorriest-looking creatures I'd ever seen: mangy, rib cages sticking out, and devoid of energy, lying as if dead by the side of the road. It made me realise how incredibly healthy virtually all of the 1st world pet dogs were that I'd seen - I hadn't actually seen a truly neglected dog before.

Belize , Mexico and Honduras were all also bad, but with slightly fewer and not as decrepit-looking animals, but they were still fairly ubiquitous.

Funnily enough, this measure would also place this one Indian (as in Native American) Reservation as the poorest place I've seen in America - the dogs there looked thin but not unhealthy, and there were a few of them around. I've never seen stray dogs in noticeable numbers anywhere else in the US that I've travelled. I'm not sure how accurate this would be as a measure of cross-sectionl wealthwithin the US, but it's probably not too far off.

Correlations, man. Though you throw them out with a pitchfork, yet they return.

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