Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Rich, Poor, and Squeeze

This story tells us that "Africa's Internet gap" is getting wider. Apparently, things are getting better on the continent, in terms of Internet access, but not as fast as Europe and other places. It is interesting to talk about a "gap," because it is a way to make good news seem like bad news. The story could be written in terms of improvement in the Internet infrastructure of Africa, but instead it has a negative spin.

It reminds me of the Democrat line about the "rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and the middle class getting squeezed." That old saw has been used by everyone from Gov. Dukakis to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Of course, it is only half bad. The rich getting richer part is actually good. If the poor are actually getting poorer (and not just having more kids, thus becoming a larger share of the population), then we should focus on that, rather than the "gap." Also, what does it mean to be squeezed? Either you are getting richer, getting poorer, or staying the same. And if the gap is growing, wouldn't the middle class be "stretched" rather than "squeezed"?

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