Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Income Disparity Among People and Nations

There is probably a crisis center somewhere out there that just makes up new impending disasters. In a generation the world worry about "world freezing" shifted to "world warming" and now has settled politely upon the ambiguous "climate change." The purity of our foods, the danger of aquifer contamination, the Iranian nuclear power, the North Korean nuclear power, guns in the streets, the flu, the flu vaccine--they tumble out of the crisis factory like so many potato chips or cookies. "Income disparity" is a new world crisis. It sounds bad. Almost revolution-inducing. And a recent study has shown it is getting worse. Worse! And globalization is probably the cause!

Richer countries in 1980 (as measured by GDP per capita) tended to grow faster between 1980 and 2000 than poorer countries. The rich are getting richer! The poor are getting poorer! Globalization is going to create two huge disparate worlds that will soon cancel each other out. Or annihilate each other like matter and anti-matter.

Or is it? The largest populations of poverty are actually in the areas of national success. Both China and India are reaping the benefits of globalization, and so are their poor citizens. Indeed the largest beneficiaries of globalization have been the huge populations of India's and China's poor.

As The Economist points out, 'If you consider people, not countries, global inequality is falling rapidly.'

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