Follow the bouncing 1% meme…

This thing is a perfectly designed info-virus. It replicates beautifully in a 140-character environment. It feeds on gullibility and thrives in a numeracy vacuum. I think it will outlive us all. Women will forever own “1% of the world’s wealth.” (Here’s the original debunking.)

September 18, 8:50 pm:

I really wonder how Sudeep Reddy managed to work that 1% thing into this blurb on a World Bank Report. I’m pretty sure it’s not in there.

Someone at WSJ’s Twitter account was asleep at the switch. Don’t they edit this thing?

Anyway, September 19, 3:45 pm:

By the evening of the 20th, @MsMagazine got on board:

Then I saw this one from Shakesville:

To the credit of the readers there, many raised logical questions — what about me and my husband, who owns our wealth? what about Oprah and Martha Stewart, JK Rowling, the Queen of England? After 46 comments of back and forth — including some heroic logical attempts to imagine how it could be true, and several trips through the WB report — the moderators closed the comments (but left the post up).

And if you look really closely, you can see a faint heartbeat. It will be back.

8 thoughts on “Follow the bouncing 1% meme…

  1. After reading the comments at Shakesville, it seems like you have debunked the 1% meme a while back, but you have not debunked the statistic as it originates from this new World Bank Report.

    It doesn’t seem like you’ve even read the new report yet, you are just claiming that it doesn’t “seem” like it could be true- is that right?


  2. It’s just a shame to have to run around “debunking” a non-statistic that is simply implausible. It’s not in the World Bank report. The WSJ blogger superimposed it for some reason, creating another cycle of meme-reproduction where now people say, “according to the World Bank…” instead of “according to the U.N.” It’s a game of preconception-reinforcing-echo-chamber-telephone and fetishization of statistical authorities justifying lack of critical thinking.


  3. I hear you- and am not trying to make more work for you 🙂

    I was under the impression that the statistic was from the World Bank Report. However, after doing a cursory “find” on the PDF of the report, I didn’t see the statistic mentioned in it. And… like others, I would be curious how “the world’s wealth” is defined…?

    I think, given women’s status in many parts of the world, the statistic isn’t self-evidently implausible to many people- which is why it continues to get circulated.


  4. You mean, not everything in the WSJ is true? As a Rupert Murdoch publication, I’m sure it’s above reproach, especially on the rare occasions that it publishes something that’s consistent with my preconceived notions of the world and ideological belief system.

    Keep up the good fight, Phil.


Comments welcome (may be moderated)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s