The Common Good
January-February 2002

Real World?

by Rose Marie Berger, Jodi Hochstedler | January-February 2002

Recently, Turkish TV launched the hottest new program in virtual voyeurism: Who can
survive on the country’s minimum wage?

Recently, Turkish TV launched the hottest new program in virtual voyeurism: Who can survive on the country’s minimum wage? The show puts two middle class couples against each other to see who can survive on $85 a month. As part of the daily 30-minute show, the two couples live in apartments filled with cameras and microphones. The couple that spends the least money during the month, without exceeding the minimum wage, will win a car, $17,250 in cash, and a weeklong vacation in Europe. Half of Turkey’s population lives on a monthly income of less than $200, far below the poverty line of $474 a month for a family of four. "They are lucky," said one Turkish viewer. "Most Turks are stuck with minimum wage for life, and there is no award awaiting them."

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