Portfolios of the Poor on Planet Money

On today’s Planet Money:

Economists at the World Bank calculate that 2.5 billion people live on $2 a day, but what exactly does that mean? In the developed world, living on so little would be almost unthinkable. For 40 percent of the global population, $2 a day is a reality that must, somehow, be made to work.

In Portfolios of the Poor, Daryl Collins and co-author Jonathan Morduch uncover the surprisingly complex financial lives of the most destitute people.


  1. mark harrison says:

    Response…Jessica, very interesting and also very relevant when you consider the turmoil that the world is in financially. We have just stopped employing someone in India because they were only getting paid $4 a day by us and when we tried to increase it, the agency refused saying that we would break their wage ceiling.

    We felt ashamed that we contributed to the misery of these people and we stopped using them immediately and we now pay more than the minimum wage to people in the USA and the UK.

  2. Human nature can adapt. When you don’t know what it is to earn $20 a day, then even $2 a day seems fine. My grandparents in Asia were in that position but they never complained and I think they had a rich life too. The owned their houses. They had land and property. Sometimes I think they have more than us.

  3. Geld Lenen says:

    Response…$2 a day? Is that really possible? Maybe if you eat only potatoes and have free shelter to live.