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Comparing Apples and Apples

Americans often assume that it's OK for workers in poor countries to earn as little money as they do because it is cheaper to live there. To demonstrate a worker's real ability to buy basic necessities, social economist Ruth Rosenbaum deploys a "purchasing power index" for easy comparison across national boundaries. The index measures how long a worker earning the minimum wage must work to buy a product, taking inflation into account. Rosenbaum gathers the data (including the data for Mexico) on behalf of labor unions and other groups interested in corporate responsibility.

by Abby Scher

Issue #212, July-August 1997

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Dollars & Sense magazine, 29 Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108, USA, provides left perspectives on economic affairs. It is published six times a year and is edited by a collective of economists, journalists, and activists committed to social justice and economic democracy.

Copyright © 2002 Economic Affairs Bureau, Inc.