I guess what really cracks me up about this paragraph, which I need to go back in and edit because my typing skills at 100WPM aren't what they use to be, is the formula for calculating the average wage. I know I'm being critical about it, but who's to say that minorities shouldn't be counted in with the rest of the population when doing the math?
A mouthful, but I think I better re-read this and make more sense out of it before I analyze it. Word problems were always hell for me in school too.
NAOMIThe minimum wage never recovered its value and 2 years into the program, real wages were down 40 %; at one point they would drop 70%. In 1985, the year of shock therapy, the per capita average income in Bolivia was $845; 2 years later it had fallen to $789. This is the measure used by Sachs and the government, and despite the lack of progress it conveys, it does not begin to capture the degradation of daily life for many bolivians. Average income is derived by adding up the country's total income and dividing by the number of people in the country; it glosses over the fact that shock therapy in Bolivia had the same effects that it had in the rest of the region: a small elite grew far wealthier while large portions of what had been the working class were discarded from the economy altogether and turned into surplus people. In 1987, Bolivian peasants, known as campesinos, were earning, on average, just $140 a year, less than one-fifth of the "average income." That is the problem with measuring only the "average": it effectively erases these sharp divisions.