Columns “This Gaggenau cooker hood isn’t this year’s model” – The anointing of my wealthy friend almost made me scream.

It is frightening how easily a person gets used to their comfort and forgets their relatively good position, writes HS Vision columnist Juhani Mykkänen.

I was a village some time ago in a wealthy friend’s new apartment. He waved seriously when “this Gaggenau cooker hood is not this year’s model”.

It was hard not to shout whether it could be agreed that neither of us would ever say anything like that again. I had just read about a late Swedish doctor and TED speaker Hans Roslingin the book The world of facts (2018).

Inspired by that, it made me want to ask a friend, perplexing, if he might have started his morning by dragging his children into a dirty bucket of water from a well? Maybe he made the water vague porridge, the only food the kids had ever tasted?

Did one of the children perhaps have a worsening cough due to the fire inside the apartment?

No. A friend’s family life is not like that. No, although living on a well is still more common on a global scale than having a faucet in your home.

And no, my life isn’t like that either, so the next one may turn out to be the richsplaining of a growth entrepreneur, but I take that risk because it’s important.

Hans In her book, Rosling describes the differences in living standards by dividing the people of the world into four levels.

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At the first tier, a billion people live – in the conditions described above – on less than € 60 a month. More than three billion people already live on the next level, each with less than € 200 a month.

Then the water still has to be carried from the well, but it can still be retrieved by bicycle. The home has stuttering electricity and a gas stove. Children don’t have to collect firewood, so they have time to go to school. The family sleeps on the clay floor but can save on mattresses.

On the third tier, just under a third of us live, more than two billion people. At that time, a person spends a few hundred euros a month. He probably does several different jobs, every day of the week. The savings are enough for running water. Electricity is available around the clock, so children can see the school in the evenings. The family may also have purchased a freezer that has made the diet more diverse. Reserve for a scooter or motorcycle.

A billion people live on the fourth tier. It is enough to spend more than 850 euros a month. So the group does not only consist of my friend Gaggenau and me, but it includes almost all Finns. We may be reading this in a state where warm water flows. We’ve probably been studying for 12 years. We have flown by plane. We may have a car at our disposal. We can eat from time to time in the restaurant.

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I am sure the majority of people in the fourth tier are aware that they are in a relatively exceptional position. In theory. But we don’t really perceive it in everyday life.

One reason may be that a person gets used to the standard of living they reach frighteningly quickly. You know, research: even a lottery winner’s happiness returns to baseline in a year.

Another reason is probably that we mainly watch entertainment and soma channels where we see people with the same or better standard of living.

Some of us may avoid the comparison to the lower steps also because it is starting to be ashamed. The status of the fourth tier is in many ways the result of the unfair global development costs of the centuries, often at the expense of the lower tier.

But then when we compare ourselves to others, for some reason the target is mostly the “better” people ourselves.

If we are accepted into the university, we will be happy. Then we start to lament that some of our fellow students are even smarter. If we browse the familiar Instagram, we start to wonder why we ourselves are not at the waterfall.

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And if we manage to move into an apartment with a great kitchen, we might provably lament that someone else’s appliances are newer.

Sure even on the fourth level, there are serious causes for grief: close relatives, corona breakdowns, alcohol and mental health problems, school bullying of our children.

But despite that, we are reading this, we are at a step towards our standard of living that more than six billion other people are in pain for the rest of their lives.

It is not remembered in everyday life, but you can try even when you open the water tap.

At the same time, one can consider whether the information should affect oneself, one’s own choices, or even one’s own mood.

Or do you always get a good opinion of new stimuli in the end, and that’s why it’s worth looking for it in the Tiktok videos, for example?

By the way, why am I not as funny as the people in them?

A variety of real homes for people around the world can be explored on the Rosar Family’s Gapminder Foundation Dollar Street website.

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