Are we living in a more unequal world?


#1

There is the idea that the inequality is rising and that the quality of life is getting worse. But how true is this?
We have all heard that the richest one percent of the world owns more than half of the world wealth, but how limited is this way of looking at things?
Because inequality is not only about money:
A century ago most of the people were illiterate, only a lucky few could read and write. Now many more people have access to education. Same as with health care, more people have access to hospitals, doctors and medicines, even life expectancy has grown in recent years. Do you agree?
https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/5-shocking-facts-about-extreme-global-inequality-and-how-even-it-davos


#2

@ErnestoV,

The fact that we are comparatively better than one hundred, two hundred or a millennia years ago by no means should imply that we are ok. If there are more opportunities for everyone it has been because people fight for it, because they are uncomfortable with the living conditions they live in.

Yes, infant mortality has diminished, more kids are able to go to school, and so many accomplishments have been achieved but there is still inequality in many ways and certainly there is no equality of opportunities in most of the countries. Maybe that is the problem, not whether we are more unequal than few years ago. That would be even more disappointing.


#3

Hello everyone,

It is true that in human development indicators many countries have improved compared to previous decades. Nevertheless, in terms of inequality, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, “Globally, inequality has decreased over decades, because the growth of the very poor and highly populated economies of Asia has been higher than the growth rates of the advanced economies, bringing about what economists have dubbed “the great convergence”. Within countries, however, inequality has on average increased. In many advanced economies, income inequality has widened or plateaued at a high level in the last two decades, with large regional discrepancies, for example between rural and urban areas-as richer households pull away from their middle- and lower-income peers. The trend is more mixed for emerging economies, because there are absolute levels of inequality remain much higher than in advanced countries. In countries where data allow comparisons, wealth is significantly more unequally distributed than income.”

If this is true, the future question is whether the current economic system will allow these inequalities to continue growing. Despite being a controversial author, Thomas Piketty points out in his 1997 book: “The economy of inequalities” points out that “the current economic system has increased inequality due to tax reforms of the last three decades that eased tax burdens on the richest sectors of society.” In a few words, Piketty pointed out that if society continued on that path, it will tend to be an oligarchy of inherited wealth. Now, although it is true that Piketty wrote this more than 20 years ago and some of the reforms he mentions have been modified, we can currently observe a return to this approach, such as the recent US tax reform proposed by Trump, in which one of the important points is the greater exemption to the inheritances and taxes on the wealth of the richest sector of the USA.

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2017-2018/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2017–2018.pdf