Annals of Innumeracy I

This is a new series, where I point out instances of mathematical illiteracy so that I can be a smartarse.

According to sociologist Walter Fernandes, 40 percent of those displaced by development projects are tribals, although they constitute less than 8 percent of the population. Put another way, a tribal is five times as likely as a nontribal to have his property seized by the state.

This is Ram Guha, in an otherwise excellent article in the Nation about the roots of the Naxal threat. The correct number is not five. It is 7.66 times.