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Copyright © 2012 Ray Dickenson
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Damned Lies

"There are three kinds of lies:
lies, damned lies and statistics"

Mark Twain - quoting Benjamin Disraeli


"Feel-good Lies"


Check this small village:

10 people are sick (no income),
80 are ordinary folk on $ 100 a day,
10 are politicos / mafia on $ 500 per day.


`normal' distribution

TOTAL INCOMES = $ 13,000


What's the `average' income?

You could legally use any of these three:-

Modal average (most common value) - $100

Median average (middle value - if any) - $ 100

Mean average (total divided by population) - $ 130




To see which one is `realistic', let's examine a new distribution - after the 10 politicos / mafiosi rob everything from the 80 working folk!
[by taxation or burglary]




thieves distribution

TOTAL INCOMES = $ 13,000


I.e. - total income is the same, top income is higher, but most folk are broke.

Modal average (most common value) - $ 0

Median average (middle value) - not there

Mean average (total divided by population) - $ 130




Yes,

`modal average' shows reality for most folk,

`mean average' is a double lie - it makes the poor seem better-off and the rich look lower-paid.




Which average do bureaucrats, politicos and their media prefer -
- truthful mode, empty median, or lying mean?

Yup
the lying `mean'!






"Feel-bad Lies"


To justify taking more money from us low-paid folk, the politicians and their media also produce `feel-bad' statistics.

Like:-

"40% of children below-average at reading / writing"

"Over one-third of population `unfit' or `obese'"

"Many workers are `under-invested' for retirement"

"Nearly half of population are in `low-paid' jobs"



Guess what? All `truisms'!   And they stay true!   No matter how much tax we pay!

what we should expect anyway
`Normal Curve'


Why?

On the curve of `natural' distribution each of us gets
a higher or lower `score' for something or other.

I.e. at some time we'll each of us be to the left or right of center.

It just depends on what you decide to check:- weight - height - dexterity - sport - schooling - efficiency - poker - trivial pursuits - physical strength - or any of the various types of IQ test (measuring different kinds of "IQ").



[Though 20% up or down is only a "good or bad day" on the road - or at the office - or at home - or at school.]

All populations - of grass, of rabbits, of tigers, and of us humans - follow that curve!

If we didn't - we wouldn't be alive!



Tax-increases or investment won't change our positions on those `normal curves'.

So,
the politicos, bureaucrats and their media are illiterate and innumerate,

or,

they think we are!





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