Want fries with that unsafe drinking water, bottom billion?

Maria Richards

portuguese - Portugal
"The Titans of the global economy probably won´t do anything to heal the world for the simply reason that because, as things stand, they profit most from its suffering. Want fries with that unsafe drinking water, bottom million?"

It´s from an article in Harvard Business Review, about the World Economical Forum. I can´t figure out the meaning of the last sentence. Thanks for any help!
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Want fries with that?" Is the classic question you're asked at McDonald's as the staff try to get you to add french fries to your order. It has become a cliché.

    Bottom billion here is being used as a form of address. But rather than being Mr. Smith, you're Mr./Ms. Bottom Billion – one of the bottom billion of the earth's population, i.e. the most disadvantaged.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    And I assume it's simple (not "simply") in the first sentence. No, neither makes any difference in the meaning.

    "Want fries with that?" is a reference to a fast-food line, which is short for, "Do you want French-fried potatoes with your hamburger?" That kind of food is eaten by millions, probably billions, of average people around the world. The writer is saying that it's these same masses of people who are going to be forced to drink unsafe water, since the world's governments seem unable or (the writer evidently believes) unwilling to do anything about extensive water pollution.

    Welcome to the forum, Maria. :)
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