So in looking at just a few such comparisons, I've run into:
(To be fair, the last two comments also got themselves flak where I found them).
What makes people gloat like this? If you ask me, these comments and comparisons themselves undermine their claims. (Sort of self-referential that way). It's not that there is plenty in our own society to worry about. It's that the business of pointing to somebody else's suffering and saying we're better people than you is odious.
Not odious, this. But it left me wanting to pick a small bone with my genial pal Petey. Reacting to Being Poor by John Scalzi, Pete has Being Poor My Arse.
Pete believes Scalzi's list of indicators of poverty shows how little people in the USA know about how the rest of the world lives; and that prompted him to put together his list. Nothing in it to object to, but here's the thing: I find nothing in Scalzi's list to object to either. Nothing in it that says he has no idea how the rest of the world lives. Nor that he necessarily must have such idea, for us to take his list seriously.
Scalzi's list is a pretty good indicator of people living in poverty in the USA -- and that's the critical phrase. In the USA. That poor people in India experience poverty on a different scale doesn't mean that poverty-stricken Americans don't live hard lives. I mean sure, you have ten thousand dollars to spend in India in a year and you can live pretty damned well. But try to live on that much in the States and it's going to be hand-to-mouth the whole year.
A hard life doesn't deserve less empathy (or more) because others live equally, or even harder, lives. Poverty is not competitive. It just is.
Postscript: I finally found the Gurumurthy article I mentioned. I wasn't quite fair in my recollection of what it said. Nevertheless, here are some of the phrases from the article that made me mention it here:
Gurumurthy's article is here.