Same same but different

Messaging apps and 500mph planes deceive us. Their manipulation of physical distance results in a triteness: the world is small.

The world is not small.

From Forbes, 2012:

…true to California’s reputation for harboring a pioneering spirit, the state’s wealthiest ZIP codes are home to more Toyota Prius hybrid models than they are to luxury wheels…Century City in southern California (with an average annual income of $751,00) chose the Prius, followed by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and C-Class sedans…The Prius was also the car of choice in Ross, California, where the average annual income was $497,000…Although denizens of Atherton, California, with an annual average income is $768,000, opted for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class as their top car, they showed their green spirit by choosing the Prius as their next most-purchased car.

Teslas mark the latest eco-status symbol, but the Prius remains vibrant. Americans pay premiums for the privilege to park one in their driveway.

10% of Mongolian roads are paved. The wealthiest working class Mongolians make an estimated annual salary of MNT 1.5 million ($624). The Prius costs 10x average monthly household income and makes up a rapidly increasing 13% of cars on the road. Mongolians pay for them with cows if they must. Status matters little. Mongolians buy the fuel efficient hybrid for its low operating cost and large battery, which starts easily during winter’s sub-zero freeze.

A Mongolian in Century City would think the temperature drops to -30℃. A Californian in Ulaanbaatar might mistake its poorest inhabitants for its wealthiest.

It would take 18 hours for the pair to physically switch locations. Then they’d be on different planets.


Originally published at David Mastronardi.