Brazil has, according to our economics professor, the most concentrated wealth in the world. Followed by Sierra Leone and Burundi. Or Rwanda. I can’t remember now.
She drew a big triangle on the white board and crossed off just the tip of the drawing.
-This is the top 10%. What is the minimum salary that will put a Brazilian in the 10% richest in the country?
A colleague and I responded together R$3000 (per month). I thought it was perhaps a bit high, maybe more around the R$2000 mark. Other classmates scoffed.
-Come on. Three thousand? No way. That’s so low!
(It’s almost twice what I make per month…)
The professor cut off the conversation and drew a line on the other side of the triangle.
-Are you ready to know what it really is? R$ 600.
Shock waves rippled through the classroom. They’re not even sure if someone can live on R$600, not really. You can see it in their eyes.
I thoroughly enjoyed the class, from the professor’s absent minded comments to her sitting cross-legged on the chair, unabashedly explaining that we will have to have a smoke break, at the very least, because she loves her Marlboros. She tells us we look like calves in a field, with these big moon eyes. Each student is addressed by their clothing or dominant feature:
-Pistachio…Black coat there…Blondie next to Blue Shirt...hey Glasses, what do you think?
-So what's your name? Jina, Jeny, Dena? You're Italian?
-Really? You sure?
There is laughter...
For the rest of the class, I become the Phd. in Cat Whiskers. Don't ask. I couldn't explain it if I tried!
Sorry, Dad, but I have a feeling this economics course is going to be substantially more interesting than the one you made me take when I was 13. Just have this instinct...