Another View of Inequality

Inequality

This graph is from Branko Milanovic, the lead economist at the World Bank’s research group. Dylan Matthews explains:

Give that one a good look since at least for me it took a while to fully sink in. What this is telling us is that in India and Brazil, the poorest people are among the poorest people in the entire world, whereas the richest people are either middle-class, globally speaking, as is the case in India, or are for-real rich, as is the case in Brazil. But if you’re in Russia and especially if you’re in the United States, the mere fact that you live there means that you are not (with some exceptions) poor in the global sense. The bottom fifth of Americans are still well above the middle of the world income distribution.

Comments (12)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Levin says:

    “The bottom fifth of Americans are still well above the middle of the world income distribution.”

    We are increasing our income inequality ratio with the increase in technological innovation, so that might not be that way for long.

    • Bosh says:

      “Brazil, the poorest people are among the poorest people in the entire world, whereas the richest people are either middle-class, globally speaking, as is the case in India, or are for-real rich, as is the case in Brazil.”

      Are Brazil and India’s income inequality a result of technological innovation?

      • Niles says:

        I would say so. Brazil especially. India has more income inequality just because of the sheer magnitude of their poverty, and their economy is just growing out of mercantilism.

      • Richard says:

        Brazil has some tremendous natural resources that the rich are able to extract, that individuals in India don’t have access to.

        That seems to drive a lot of growth behind Brazil’s inequality.

    • Brenden says:

      Andrew McAfee has an interesting perspective into technological innovation in modern society and how it is effecting income inequality.

      http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_mcafee_what_will_future_jobs_look_like.html

  2. Boswell says:

    “The bottom fifth of Americans are still well above the middle of the world income distribution.”

    That is because our GDP is large, and minimum wage laws prohibit lower pay, so poverty is substantially lower than it would be otherwise.

    • Nolan says:

      That is why Minimum wage standards can be good in some circumstances. Whether or not it helps more than hurts…that’s debatable, but it is still helping in this situation.

  3. Buster says:

    The wealth distribution in India is relatively flat except for the rich, which are far above others in India. In the United States, the wealth distribution is relatively flat, except for a few very poor individuals — which are still relatively well off compared to the rest of the world. What is amazing is that the richest in India are at about the same level as the poor in the United States.

  4. Jimmy says:

    So hard for many to understand this and see where we in the U.S. are to other nations. Many nations seem to be catching up and getting used to more industrialized nations standard of living.