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There's always someone worse off than you. There are people living in sub-saharan africa that would probably trade places with anyone in Ecuador given half a chance.

Being poor is miserable because you look around you, and see how other people have it better. Poor people in America don't see Ecuadorians living in shacks, they see people driving to their big house in a Lexus, and relaxing by taking a dip in the pool.

There is a huge difference. Poor people in America have a much greater ability to change their circumstances - public education, needs based financial aid for education, job placement programs, military service, etc. Poor people in third world countries generally have almost no way of doing so.

True, but it seems to me that Scalzi's article was focused on what it feels like to be poor, not on the actual objective reality, etc., etc.

This. Nothing in the essay says “being poor is thinking that absolutely nobody in the world is worse off than you are”.

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