In The Words of Gary North:
Most Westerners are rich in the opinion of Asian farmers. Yet most Westerners do not think of themselves as rich. They do think of Asian farmers as poor.
Then who is rich? We think: “The guy three rungs up the financial ladder.” So does he.
The richest people on earth are residents of Western semi-capitalist nations. They enjoy a standard of living that kings in 1900 would not have dreamed of.
Think of medical care. Kings lost children to killer diseases that are no longer a statistical threat in the West. Kings did not have high fidelity stereo music at their disposal. They did not have movies. They did not have cell phones. They did not have air conditioning. They did have anesthetics (1844). They were somewhat better off than kings in 1840.
What did they have that you don’t have? They had servants. They had summer palaces. They had yachts. They had mistresses. Would you trade places with any of them?
Yet most Westerners dream of getting rich. By the standards of history, they are indescribably rich. By the standards of rural Asia, they are indescribably rich. The rich do not perceive this.
Rich is a matter of perception. The rural Indian does not dream of becoming American middle-class rich. He dreams of becoming Mumbai middle-class rich.
“I want to go to America,” said a childhood friend of Dinesh D’Sousa in Mumbai. “Why?” D’Sousa asked. “Because in America, poor people are fat.”