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Inequality Comes to Asia

 

As income inequality becomes increasingly entrenched, it can undermine social cohesion and spur political instability. To avoid such an outcome, Asian countries need to change the rules of the game, providing opportunities for youth, regardless of their background, to ascend the income ladder.

SEOUL – From China to India, Asian countries’ rapid economic expansion has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in recent decades. Yet the income distribution has lately worsened, with inequality now potentially even more severe in Asia than in the developed economies of the West.

From 1990 to 2012, the net Gini coefficient – a common measure of (post-tax and post-transfer) income inequality – increased dramatically in China, from 0.37 to 0.51 (zero signifies perfect equality and one represents perfect inequality). It rose in India as well, from 0.43 to 0.48. Even the four “Asian Tigers” – Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan – which had previously grown “with equity,” have lately faced rising inequality. In South Korea, for example, the share of income held by the top 10% rose from 29% in 1995 to 45% in 2013.

This trend is being driven largely by the same forces that have fueled Asia’s economic growth in recent decades: unbridled globalization and technological progress. Increasingly open borders have made it easier for businesses to find the cheapest locations for their operations. In particular, China’s entry into global markets has put downward pressure on the wages of low-skill production workers elsewhere.

Meanwhile, new technologies raise demand for skilled workers, while reducing demand for their less-skilled counterparts – a trend that fuels the expansion of the wage gap between skilled and unskilled. Capital owners also reap major benefits from technological progress. In short, as the Nobel laureate Angus Deaton has acknowledged, by creating new opportunities for a certain group of millions of people, while subjecting an enormous number of people to wage stagnation, unemployment, and economic precarity, globalization and technological innovation have helped to widen the gap between the haves and have-nots.

Exacerbating this trend, income inequality often goes hand in hand with inequality of opportunity. With limited educational and economic prospects, talented youth from disadvantaged backgrounds end up running in place. As inequality becomes increasingly entrenched, it can erode the consensus in favor of pro-growth economic policies, undermine social cohesion, and spur political instability.

To avoid such a future, Asian countries need to change the rules of the game, providing opportunities for youth, whatever their background, to ascend the income ladder. Market mechanisms are not enough to achieve this. Governments must take action, complementing their pro-growth policies with policies aimed at ensuring that the gains are shared much more equally and sustainably.

To be sure, some Asian governments have been attempting to tackle inequality with progressive redistribution policies. For example, South Korea’s government recently announced that it will raise the minimum wage next year by 16.4%, to 7,530 won ($6.70) per hour, and up to 55% above its current level by 2020. It will also raise tax rates for the highest income earners and companies.

But, while such measures have strong public support, they could end up hurting the economy, by reducing business investment, for example, and impeding job creation. In fact, the first rule of thumb in combating today’s inequality should be that simplistic egalitarian policies are not a permanent solution – and may, in fact, have adverse long-term consequences.

Consider the Venezuelan government’s decision, in the late 1990s, to implement populist redistributive policies, without addressing the economy’s overreliance on the oil industry and lack of competitiveness. That choice has pushed the country to the edge of bankruptcy, while fueling large-scale social unrest and political turmoil. Venezuela’s national catastrophe should serve as a warning to everyone.

The best way to enhance both equity and growth is effective development of human capital, which not only supports higher incomes today, but also ensures intergenerational mobility tomorrow. This requires enhanced social safety nets and redistributive tax-and-transfer programs, as well as access to quality education for all.

The good news is that many East Asian economies are already investing more in public education, in order to expand opportunities for all population groups. But more must be done.

Asia needs to improve further the quality of its higher education as well, reforming curricula to ensure that young people are getting the knowledge and skills they need to prepare them for the labor market. Meanwhile, the labor market should be made more efficient and flexible, so that it can match people with the right jobs and reward them adequately. As technology continues to transform the economy, life-long education and training is needed to enable workers to keep up.

Promoting the participation of girls and women in education and economic activity is also important. Furthermore, governments should create an environment that fosters small innovative startups. And, of course, they should sustain pro-growth policies that boost overall job creation and reduce unemployment, while rejecting barriers to trade or innovation.

In today’s charged political environment, there is a growing temptation to reject globalization and embrace populist redistribution policies that could end up doing far more harm than good. Asia’s leaders must do better if they are to realize the true promise of “growth with equity.”

 

Lee Jong-Wha, Professor of Economics and Director of the Asiatic Research Institute at Korea University, served as Chief Economist and Head of the Office of Regional Economic Integration at the Asian Development Bank and was a senior adviser for international economic affairs to former President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea. His most recent book, co-authored with Harvard’s Robert J. Barro, is Education Matters: Global Schooling Gains from the 19th to the 21st Century

 

By : Lee Jhong-Wha
Date : November 20, 2017
Source : Project Syndicate (https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/inequality-growth-asia-policies-by-lee-jong-wha-2017-11?a_la=english&a_d=5a129e7e78b6c75d10007960&a_m=&a_a=click&a_s=&a_p=homepage&a_li=inequality-growth-asia-policies-by-lee-jong-wha-2017-11&a_pa=curated&a_ps=)

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Storms hit poorer people harder, from Superstorm Sandy to Hurricane Maria

 

The ferocious “frankenstorm” known as Sandy that ripped through greater New York City five years ago remains one for the record books. Like this year’s hurricane season, it racked up tens of billions of dollars in economic damages.

Superstorm Sandy had another close, yet underappreciated, similarity to this year’s hurricanes: less affluent groups of people suffered more, both in the initial damage and recovery.

An analysis by a team I led at Stony Brook University shows that Sandy’s destructive path across Long Island, from Brooklyn to the Hamptons, was not as even-handed as media coverage often made it seem, both in its initial impact and people’s recovery.

The storm season of 2017 has already left behind an even more dramatic version of this story: Following Hurricane Harvey, Houston quickly switched water and electricity back on and emptied most emergency shelters. Meanwhile, several weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, much of the island is still in “survival mode.” Both hurricane seasons expose the close ties between severe weather events and social inequality.

Uneven impact

Though no longer a hurricane when it hit the New York region, Sandy proved big and powerful enough to stir record rises in ocean levels, vying with Long Island’s worst recorded storm of 1938. While high winds brought down trees on cars, homes and power lines across the island’s interior, flooding brought the most damage. Coastline communities bore the brunt of the storm.

In the wake of an onslaught that sounded “like a jet plane was landing on your street,” Rockaway resident Richard Blanck found himself up to his ankles in water on his front porch. In nearby Long Beach, “those few residents in the poor neighborhoods of town who owned cars saw them swallowed up, and disabled, by the salty water.” Farther from New York City, on Long Island, 100 Mastic Beach residents had to be rescued from flooded homes.

All three of these communities, among the hardest hit by Sandy, lie along Long Island’s south shore, which has long drawn lower- as well as middle-income residents. This coastline is also more vulnerable to storms sweeping up from warmer waters. By contrast, since its early 20th-century reputation as a “Gold Coast,” the more insulated north shore remains more uniformly well-to-do and white.

We looked at where people who registered significant damage with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following Sandy lived. Mapping that data, it was clear the northern coastline was affected relatively little, compared to the south-facing and less wealthy parts of Long Island where people reported higher damage.

Racial dimension

After World War II, more city-ward shoreline communities such as the Rockaways, Coney Island and Long Beach fell on hard times. Robert Moses and other planners then sited public or publicly subsidized housing there, as blacks and Latinos shut out of much suburban housing also moved nearby.

So when Sandy’s largest storm surges washed in – 17 ½ feet high in Long Beach and 14 feet in parts of the Rockaways – African-Americans bore an inordinate share of the decimation.

One report three years after the storm recounted the experience of Melissa Miller in Long Beach, whose apartment in the Channel Park Homes development was inundated with five inches of sewage-infested water. Nearly every home in Long Beach was flooded, and two-thirds suffered “heavy or strong damage,” as did 20 percent of those in nearby Far Rockaways, according to state statistics. Our investigation showed her experience was shared by others in publicly subsidized homes, many of them with African-American residents.

Latino communities, though slightly underrepresented in the most damaged areas, joined African-American counterparts in watching many of their local schools undergo flooding. As our geographic analysis demonstrated, the inundation of schools proved widespread along the south shore from central Nassau westward through Queens and Brooklyn.

But along the southeastern and northern shorelines of Long Island, hardly any schools flooded, even in the most stricken communities. More affluent Bayville, in northern Nassau, suffered an 11-foot storm surge, but its schools, situated on higher, dryer ground, lay out of harm’s way.

Less well-off white communities like Coney Island suffered too, and not just from flooding. Breezy Point, for instance, lost 10 percent of its housing, 135 homes from an electrical fire as well as 220 from the flood. Eastward along the south shore, from Nassau out through Suffolk counties, we found that wealthier communities weathered Sandy’s waves better than poorer ones such as Mastic Beach.

Known by the late 20th century as “the poor man’s Westhampton Beach,” Mastic Beach had long offered a cheaper version of shoreline property, in part because the land on which it lies was so uniformly close to sea level, near the water table. So when a Sandy surge washed in, 1,000 of its homes were flooded, many of them by both seawater and cesspool wastes. Next door, the original Westhampton Beach, hillier as well as more affluent, experienced far less damage from the storm.

Clearly Westhampton Beach’s lesser vulnerability did not just stem from its higher ground. Westhampton Beach has lower housing density compared to Mastic Beach and longstanding zoning for residential buildings, making this and other affluent areas better able to withstand and absorb floodwaters. Even before Sandy, Westhampton Beach had also long pushed to preserve dunes and other topography to mitigate surges from Sandy and other storms.

Still waiting

If disadvantaged residents and communities suffered more from the storm’s initial blow, they also faced greater obstacles in the struggle to repair or rebuild.

In a better-off north shore town like Bayville, 86 percent of those with severely damaged homes had flood insurance, nearly three times more than the 30 percent in Coney Island/Brighton Beach. Further drilling into FEMA data showed that in damaged areas of Brooklyn with predominantly African-American residents, only 14 percent of homeowners were insured. Those without insurance had to await FEMA or New York state grants, which often took years to arrive.

Over the last five years, FEMA as well as New York Rising, the state’s rehabilitation program, have accomplished much across the island, but also frustrated many Sandy victims with the slowness and paltriness of their aid. That only two-thirds of homeowners in New York Rising have completed their repairs five years after the storm also means that a third have not.

And while Bayville was beginning its third phase of rebuilding in 2016, those in Long Beach’s Channel Park Homes still awaited adequate repairs by the city housing authority. As reported by the group ERASE Racism, Melissa Miller had received only a new refrigerator and some replacement drywall, along with a “sanitizing” that still left her apartment with a nauseating smell.

Parallels in Harvey and Maria

Sandy left a plethora of destruction in its wake, from its 147 deaths to approximately US$65 billion in damages. It also exposed vulnerabilities that were much longer in coming: communities in low-lying areas lacking sufficient infrastructure and insurance for its floods.

We’ve seen this general pattern play out this year as well. As with Hurricanes Irma and Jose – and with a majority of the American citizens in a Hurricane Maria-stricken Puerto Rico – less well-off communities have already shouldered the severest burdens, whether because of lower incomes or racio-ethnic origins or both.

Now more than ever, we need a nationwide conversation on ways our coastal landscapes have developed so that our most vulnerable citizens are now at greater risk from such massive storms. Officials need to find more reliable ways of illuminating problems faced by the less advantaged, and to ensure these are addressed as quickly and effectively as those of the better-off.

Altering these patterns will be difficult but ever more urgent, since future hurricanes are expected to grow in scope and strength.

What Sandy’s inequalities show is that around America’s largest metropolis as much as in other corners of our nation and planet, the battle against global warming is also a battle for environmental justice.

 

Contributors to this project from Stony Brook University include Elaine Cash, Armani Garrick, Stephen Henry, Kara Maroney, Latira Walker and Matthew Walker; Sung Gheel Jang, director of Stony Brook’s Geospatial Center; Paul St. Denis in Stony Brook’s Teaching, Learning Lab, and Technology Lab: also Randy Dible and Julia Clarke.

 

By : Chris Sellers (Professor of History, Stony Brook University (The State University of New York)
Date : November 20, 2017
Source : The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/storms-hit-poorer-people-harder-from-superstorm-sandy-to-hurricane-maria-87658)

Posted in Latest Post, Natural Disasters, Social and Economic Inequalities | Leave a comment

What can Britain learn from the US on links between economic distress and poor health?

 

Social angst contributes to ill health; there is much that can be done locally to combat this, but government action is needed too

Theresa May, in her first speech as prime minister, stood on the steps of Downing Street and referred to the glaring injustice of gaps in life expectancy and declared her intention to solve it by governing for everyone. I had a moment of hope for concerted action to increase health equity. That’s not looking bright at the moment; the government’s attention is elsewhere.

For many young people in Britain today – what with student debts, rental costs, the decline in home ownership, the gig economy and the economic uncertainties of Brexit – times are challenging.

A 15-year-old boy expects to be immortal, but evidence shows that expectation is less justified in the UK than in more than a score of other countries. The probability that a 15-year-old boy will die before his 60th birthday is 85 out of 1,000 in the UK. Is that a lot? It is higher than the best, Switzerland, at 61 per 1,000.

The UK ranks 22nd among all 185 countries for which the World Health Organisation reports this measure. Not terrible, but worse than Spain, Italy, Malta, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the Maldives, the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Japan.

My colleagues and I at University College London’s Institute of Health Equity recently drew attention to the fact that the rise of life expectancy in the UK has stalled – a much more marked slowdown than in other European countries. Most of that levelling off is because of deaths at older ages.

I want here to focus on younger adults. You may ask why I worry about 61 in Switzerland compared with 85 in the UK. It seems like a small difference. But these figures represent something deeper: the quality of social conditions, how we are doing as a society. In the UK, we are not doing so well.

The US is doing worse. It ranks 44th on the probability that a 15-year-old boy will die before his 60th birthday. Mostly, this is not due to healthcare issues. The US spends more on healthcare, per person, than any other country, but has a disastrous level of health for young and middle-aged adults.

It is worth focusing on the US because it may have lessons for the UK. Anne Case and Angus Deaton of Princeton University recently updated their 2015 report showing that there has been a big rise in mortality rates among non-Hispanic whites; a rise that that was not seen in Hispanics or African Americans. The causes: poisonings from drugs and alcohol – in part, caused by medical care, because of over-prescription of opioids; suicides; and chronic liver disease, which is commonly alcohol-related. This adds to the toll of violent deaths. Medical care will not address the underlying social angst that gives rise to these causes of death.

Two important features of this US mortality in non-Hispanic whites have lessons for the UK. First, the fewer the years of education, the steeper the mortality increase, thus contributing to increase in health inequalities.

Second, Shannon Monnat of Penn State University looked at the geographic distribution of deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide, and found that the greater the economic distress of an area, the higher the mortality rate. Monnat found, in the industrial midwest particularly, the higher the rate of these deaths the greater the 2016 vote for Trump, compared with Romney four years earlier. Trump didn’t cause these deaths, but these deaths may have caused Trump. More precisely, economic distress led both to death by drugs, alcohol and suicide and a greater likelihood of voting Trump.

In the UK we do not have the same appalling toll of drug and alcohol deaths, but we do see higher mortality in areas of economic distress. People in those areas were more likely to vote Brexit – perhaps prompted by the same dissatisfactions that led to the Trump vote in the US.

There is, though, much that can and is being done at local level. In London, for example, there has been a sharp reduction in inequalities between children from poor families and the average in early child development and educational performance.

Coventry has become a “Marmot city”. It has taken the recommendations from my 2010 health inequalities review, Fair Society, Healthy Lives, and is implementing the recommendations.

Elsewhere, in addition to dedicated doctors and nurses, occupational therapists are supporting older people to remain independent at home. In the West Midlands and Merseyside, fire services are, as they put it, improving lives to save lives; they use their time and community commitment to get young people active, look after their homes, support older people and engage with improving people’s social lives.

None of this should let central government off the hook. We need an end to austerity, a reversal of plans to make the tax and benefit system less progressive, and real attention to regional inequalities. But the action of dedicated professionals at local level is an inspiring example of what can be done.

 

Michael Marmot is professor of epidemiology at University College London and director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity. He will be speaking at the King’s Fund annual conference on 29 and 30 November 2017.

 

By : Michael Marmot
Date : November 17, 2017
Source : The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2017/nov/17/what-can-britain-learn-from-the-us-on-links-between-economic-distress-and-poor-health)

Posted in Health, Latest Post, Social and Economic Inequalities | Leave a comment

Inequality’s Deep Roots – The History News of the Week

 

The biggest history news stories of the last seven days, including an archaeological study into inequality that has an ominous warning for the present, the revelation that what is now Madrid was once arid savanna, and a rethink on the chronology of the Neanderthals.

Inequality Started with the Rise of Agriculture

New research claims that the rise of economic inequality in human societies can be traced all the way back to the dawn of agriculture.

Published in the journal Nature, the research involved academics from fourteen different institutions, and was led by Tim Kohler from Washington State University (WSU). The findings have profound implications for modern societies, the authors believe.

“Inequality has a lot of subtle and potentially pernicious effects on societies,” Kohler explained.

The researchers based their findings on the Gini coefficient, a commonly used measure of inequality developed over a century ago by Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini. On this system, a country with total wealth equality would have a Gini coefficient of zero, while a country with all the wealth concentrated in one household would have a Gini Coefficient of one.

House sizes were compared at 63 different archaeological sites, and the researchers used this data to assign Gini coefficients. It was found that hunter-gatherer societies typically had lower wealth disparities, with a median Gini of .17. This is likely because their nomadic lifestyles would have made wealth accumulation difficult, and passing it on to future generations even more so.

Small-scale, low intensity farmers (horticulturalists) had a median Gini of .27, while large scale agricultural societies had a median Gini of .35. One remarkable observation by Kohler’s team is that inequality continued to rise in the Old World, but plateaued in the New World. According to Kohler, this is down to the ability of Old World societies “to literally harness big domesticated mammals like cattle and eventually horse and water buffalo.”

Draft animals, which were not available in the New World, let rich farmers till more land and expand into new areas. This increased their wealth while ultimately creating a class of landless peasants.

“These processes increased inequality by operating on both ends of the wealth distribution, increasing the holdings of the rich while decreasing the holdings of the poor,” the researchers write in their study.

Bronze metallurgy and a mounted warrior elite further increased the Gini coefficient in the Old World, allowing some individuals to live in massive houses and make territorial conquests, the benefits of which were inherited by their descendants.

The researchers’ models put the highest Gini numbers in the ancient Old World at .59, close to that of contemporary Greece’s .56 and Spain’s .58. It is well short of China’s .73 and the United States .80, a 2000 figure cited in the Nature paper. The 2016 Allianz Global Wealth Report puts the U.S. Gini at .81 and Kohler said in a WSU press release he has seen the U.S. Gini reported as high as .85, “which is probably the highest wealth inequality for any developed country right now.”

For Kohler, the current high Gini number in the US should be a cause for concern. “People need to be aware that inequality can have deleterious effects on health outcomes, on mobility, on degree of trust, on social solidarity–all these things,” he said in a WSU statement. “We’re not helping ourselves by being so unequal.”

Kohler has documented four periods of growing inequality among the ancient Pueblo people of the American Southwest, all of which ended in violence and greater equality. The last of these was particularly dramatic – coinciding with the complete depopulating of the Mesa Verde area.

“In each case, you see not just this decline in Gini scores, but we also see an increase in violence that accompanies that decline,” Kohler said. “We could be concerned in the United States, that if Ginis get too high, we could be inviting revolution, or we could be inviting state collapse. There’s only a few things that are going to decrease our Ginis dramatically.”

14 Million Years Ago, Madrid Was a Desert

A new study claims that the central Iberian Peninsula, an area that covered what is now Madrid, was an arid savanna during the middle Miocene period.

The research, led by the Complutense University of Madrid and published in the journal PLOS ONE, compared mammal assemblages from different localities in Africa and South Asia with those that inhabited the Iberian central area 14 million years ago.

Through paleontological studies of the fossil vertebrate remains found at the Somosaguas site in Madrid, the researchers have been able to infer the environment that existed there. The central premise behind the research is that the body size of every species is largely influenced by the environmental conditions of their habitat. Elephants in humid places such as Asian jungles, for instance, are smaller than those living in dry places like African savannas.

“Based on this premise, the distribution of sizes within a mammal community can offer us valuable information about its climatic context”, explains Iris Menéndez, a researcher at the Department of Paleontology of the UCM and the Institute of Geosciences (UCM and CSIC).

From their analysis, the palaeontologists have inferred that the centre of the Iberian Peninsula witnessed ‘a very arid tropical climate with a high precipitation seasonality’. After a brief wet period, the annual dry season could last up to ten months. “These results confirm the previous inferences on the savanna environment of Somosaguas in the Miocene, but placing this habitat at their driest estimated, within the limits between the savanna and the desert”, says Menéndez.

Climatic parameters from more than 60 modern day Asian and African sites were compiled as a point of comparison for the study.

“For this purpose, we made a compilation of information on mammalian fauna lists, their body sizes, and climatic parameters for these localities, such as temperatures and precipitation. Based on this data, we developed statistical models suitable for the inference of different climatic parameters in the past”, explained the UCM researcher.

“We included the information on the 26 mammal species found in the Somosaguas site, which allowed us to infer the environment by comparison with the extant assemblages”.


Neanderthals Lived in Spain for 3,000 Years Longer Than Thought

Neanderthals survived in Spain long after they had died out every else, new research claims, suggesting our extinct cousins lived in Spain 3,000 years longer than is traditionally believed.

According to the international team of researchers who carried out the study, the findings suggest that the process of modern human populations absorbing Neanderthal populations through interbreeding was not a regular, gradual wave of advance but a “stop-and-go, punctuated, geographically uneven history.”

Over a period of ten years the researchers excavated three new sites in southern Spain, where they unearthed evidence of Neanderthal materials from as recently as 37,000 years ago.

“Technology from the Middle Paleolithic in Europe is exclusively associated with the Neanderthals,” said Dr. João Zilhão, from the University of Barcelona and lead author of the study. “In three new excavation sites, we found Neanderthal artefacts dated to thousands of years later than anywhere else in Western Europe. Even in the adjacent regions of northern Spain and southern France the latest Neanderthal sites are all significantly older.”

The Middle Paleolithic spanned from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago. It is widely acknowledged that during this time, anatomically modern humans started to move out of Africa and assimilate coeval Eurasian populations, including Neanderthals, through interbreeding.

“We believe that the stop-and-go, punctuated, uneven mechanism we propose must have been the rule in human evolution, which helps explaining why Paleolithic material culture tends to form patterns of geographically extensive similarity while Paleolithic genomes tend to show complex ancestry patchworks,” Dr. Zilhão said.

Dr. Zilhão believes that discovering and analysing new Neanderthal sites is the key to understanding the pattern of human evolution, and the true fate of the Neanderthals.

“There is still a lot we do not know about human evolution and, especially, about the Neanderthals,” said Dr. Zilhão. “Our textbook ideas about Neanderthals and modern humans have been mostly derived from finds in France, Germany and Central Europe, but during the Ice Ages these were peripheral areas: probably as much as half of the Paleolithic people who ever lived in Europe were Iberians. Ongoing research has begun to bear fruit, and I have no doubt that there is more to come.”

The study has been published in the journal Heliyon.

 

Posted by : Daryl Worthington
Date : November 19, 2017
Source : New Historian (http://www.newhistorian.com/inequalitys-deep-roots-history-news-week/8413/)

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How People Get Ahead Despite Difficult Circumstances

 

Researchers have found that social mobility – people getting ahead in life compared to where they start – has recently become more difficult for many groups. Those living in areas of concentrated poverty find it especially hard to break through barriers created by poor schools, substandard neighborhoods or public housing, and missing job opportunities. Immigrants to the United States have, however, overcome such barriers and have found ways to get ahead. I spent three years studying Latin-American immigrant women living in public housing in East Boston and South Boston. I discovered that most of those in my study were getting ahead – and I wanted to learn how they did it. My investigation allowed me to point to five factors that, taken together, enable social mobility in challenging circumstances. Those most likely to get ahead, I find, are self-starters who see themselves as struggling immigrants, enjoy supportive social ties, and reach out through networks that link them to other, dissimilar people and communities. Each of these factors can be elaborated and illustrated from my research interviews.

Self-Starters Who See Themselves as Engaged in Struggle

Self-propelling people know how to negotiate networks to get ahead, as was evident for all the socially mobile women I studied. Consider Camila, for example, a second-generation Dominican in South Boston who told me about a time when she was very angry about a situation at work. She was given an evaluation that did not include information she had been asked to provide in a previous self-assessment, and she was told to sign an evaluation that did not properly describe her actual responsibilities. The omitted information included the training of all new cashiers, head tellers, and the assistant manager; indeed, she was still a teller, yet was troubleshooting for all the other tellers at the branch. “I asked to speak to the manager and instead she had me go through the assistant manager. Why, why can’t she just deal with me directly? How am I going to advance if what I do is not documented? She added the missing information and “I told them I wouldn’t sign it unless it was included or they discussed this with me.” Camila “signed the evaluation once they told me that they would increase her grade from three to five, just one behind the Head Teller.” Camila was certainly an example of a self-propelling person in action, and I found others like her.

Similarly, I found that socially mobile self-starters tended to see themselves as struggling immigrants. As one of my informants put it, “my parents sacrificed to bring us here so that we could have a better future.” This outlook helped people work ever harder in order to live up to the sacrifices and expectations of their parents.

Social Support

Those who get ahead do so within a broad network of supporters. Julia, a second-generation Salvadoran in East Boston was working and going to college. As a young mother, she relied on “an army” of family members to put together a patchwork of childcare for Bobby, her son. This “army” included her mother and stepfather, an aunt and an uncle and Bobby’s father and his family. At one point, Julia’s mother went as far as to quit her part time job in order to be home for Bobby in the afternoons after Julia found out that her uncle had hit Bobby while taking care of him. Bobby’s father and his family moved further away and this placed limits on their availability for childcare.

When asked why there were so many people willing to help her, she replied that “they love him (Bobby) and they know that I have to work…they know that I am not out partying…I am very lucky to have such supportive family…living with my family keeps me from having to pay for childcare and housing…plus I rely on my mother, she supports me and gives me a lot of emotional help…like, when one of us comes home after having a bad day and stuff…I know I count on my mother a lot but she counts on me as well.”

Social Leverage in Ethnic Communities

Those who get ahead make active use of all supportive ties in their networks. Josefa, a first-generation Afro-Honduran woman in South Boston found out that there are people with information about better jobs among those in the lowest paid janitorial workforce. Josefa had limited English language skills and she was working without benefits in a modest hotel when she learned about her current job in an upscale hotel through a weak tie — a coworker. As Josefa explained: “There was this Bosnian man…he tells me that I am young and can speak better English and that I should get out of that dead-end job and go to the [upscale hotel] where they are hiring. This job is giving me many opportunities, I have to speak English…I also get to meet so many people…there are so many things to do around there.”

In effect, this co-worker and fellow immigrant became a leveraging bridge connecting Josefa to a different type of employment, opening new opportunities for her. For the first time, she had access to private health insurance, paid vacation, holidays and overtime in a unionized workplace. Through a job-based credit union, Josefa was also able to develop a line of credit and get her own banking account; and her new job helped Josefa improve her English skills and exposed her to a diverse group of people in her busy and trendy neighborhood.

Making the Most of Ties to Different People

Beyond relying on fellow ethnics, those who get ahead also use ties to other communities. When Camila was younger and living in South Boston, Sister Magdalena, an Irish-American nun, helped her family get access to resources in South Boston. As Camila explained, “She would come to the house to let us know about programs…Then she is the one that got me into the Young Entrepreneurs club…it was a club that taught us how to produce and market products. It was just me and my brother and all the rest were white kids…We learned to make jewelry and then took a trip to New York City to buy the supplies. Then we came back and sold the jewelry to area businesses. I learned so much with that trip”.

In sum, I learned that the people I studied were able to get ahead in difficult circumstances because they saw themselves as engaged in struggles and made full use of supports within and beyond their communities. Arguably, such ingredients allow all populations to flourish.

Read more in Silvia Domínguez, Getting Ahead: Social Mobility, Public Housing and Immigrant Networks (New York University Press, 2011).

 

By : Silvia Dominguez (Northeastern University)
Date : November 2017
Source : Scholars Strategy Network (http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/brief/how-people-get-ahead-despite-difficult-circumstances)

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Life and Death Inequality

 

Although people are living longer almost everywhere, life-expectancy figures in the US tell a more complicated story. Rich Americans can expect to live significantly longer than poor Americans, owing to disturbing levels of inequality not only of income and wealth, but also of access to basic health care.

REYKJAVÍK – Just as some of us live longer than others, countries have different average life expectancies. At the bottom of the scale is Swaziland, the only country in the world where a newborn still cannot expect to reach age 50. And at the top is Hong Kong, where a newborn can expect to live to age 84.

In 1960, the world’s countries could be divided into two groups, based on mortality. Countries in one group had low average life expectancy, from 28 years in Mali to just under 50 years in El Salvador. And countries in the second, much less populous group enjoyed higher average life expectancy – up to 73 years in Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Since then, Hong Kong has surpassed this North European group, as have Japan (84 years), Italy (83), Spain (83), and Switzerland (83). Today, the people of Hong Kong can expect their children to live 17 years longer than in 1960. Japanese newborns can expect to live 16 years longer; and newborn Icelanders can expect to live ten years longer.

Much of this increase in life expectancy around the world is a result of declining child mortality. And the increase has been more marked for women, who tend to live an average of three years longer than men. In Iceland, for example, the average life expectancy for men and women is 81 and 84, respectively.

But life expectancy can also vary significantly within countries, between rich and poor. According to a new study by two MIT researchers, the wealthiest 1% of American men tend to live almost 15 years longer than the poorest 1%; and the wealthiest 1% of American women can expect to live ten years longer than their poorer counterparts.

Moreover, this gap widened over time. In just the last 15 years, the average life expectancy of the wealthiest 5% of Americans has increased by two years for men, and three years for women. Over the same period, the average life expectancy of the poorest 5% Americans has increased by just three months for men, and hardly at all for women.

Like recent reports about many Americans’ deteriorating health, this difference in life expectancy seems to reflect not just income and wealth inequality, but also unequal access to health care. And yet US President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans seem intent on depriving 23 million more Americans of health insurance by repealing and replacing the 2010 Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

If they succeed, life expectancy in the United States would most likely continue to decline, relative to other developed countries. Between 1960 and today, for example, average life expectancy in the US increased from 70 to 79 years, whereas in Italy it increased from 69 to 83 years. While the average American lived one year longer than the average Italian in 1960, the average Italian now lives four years longer than the average American.

Average US life expectancy has increased more slowly than in Europe partly because many white middle-aged Americans have, since 1999, been living shorter lives, owing to lifestyle-related diseases, opioid overdoses, and suicides. In fact, since 1981, opioid overdoses alone have taken almost as many lives as HIV/AIDS.

It is extremely rare for any large cohort in a modern society to suffer such a decline in life expectancy. The only other time it has happened in recent decades was in Russia after the collapse of communism, and in Africa after the outbreak of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Rising inequality, then, is not just a question of income, wealth, and power; it is, literally, a matter of life and death. This may explain why inequality has shot to the top of the political agenda in the US and Europe in recent years. In his 2016 Democratic primary campaign, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, condemned America’s rising inequality and actually came closer to being elected president than many had expected. And Trump – like the “Leave” campaign in the United Kingdom – was embraced by many voters who feel left behind.

Despite being founded in 1945, the International Monetary Fund only recently began to pay ample attention to the distribution of income and wealth in its member countries. Having now realized that inequality can hinder economic growth, the IMF has begun to discuss the inequality-growth relationship with several of its members.

Some observers have disparaged the IMF for this new approach, and argue that increased inequality simply reflects what people have voted for. But those who claim that inequality is something to be desired are akin to those who argue that unemployment is always voluntary, as some economists still insist.

In fact, when inequality rises, democracy suffers, which is why the demotion of the US in one prominent ranking of the world’s democracies is not particularly surprising. Most people do not want to be unemployed, or be left behind, or have his or her life cut short. It only looks that way to those who frame the choices voters make.

 

Thorvaldur Gylfason is Professor of Economics, University of Iceland.

 

By: Thorvaldur Gylfason
Date: October 5, 2017
Source: Project Syndicate
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/united-states-inequality-and-life-expectancy-by-thorvaldur-gylfason-2017-10?a_la=english&a_d=59d6521f78b6c708d46579d6&a_m=&a_a=click&a_s=&a_p=homepage&a_li=united-states-inequality-and-life-expectancy-by-thorvaldur-gylfason-2017-10&a_pa=opinionthatmoves&a_ps=secondary-articles

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In the Caribbean, colonialism and inequality mean hurricanes hit harder

 

Hurricane Maria, the 15th tropical depression this season, is now battering the Caribbean, just two weeks after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in the region.

The devastation in Dominica is “mind-boggling,” wrote the country’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, on Facebook just after midnight on September 19. The next day, in Puerto Rico, NPR reported via member station WRTU in San Juan that “Most of the island is without power…or water.”

Among the Caribbean islands impacted by both deadly storms are Puerto Rico, St Kitts, Tortola and Barbuda.

In this region, disaster damages are frequently amplified by needlessly protracted and incomplete recoveries. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan rolled roughshod through the Caribbean with wind speeds of 160 mph. The region’s economy took more than three years to recover. Grenada’s surplus of US$17 million became a deficit of $54 million, thanks to decreased revenue and the outlays for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Nor were the effects of a 7 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010 limited to killing some 150,000 people. United Nations peacekeepers sent in to help left the country grappling, to this day, with a fatal cholera outbreak.

These are not isolated instances of random bad luck. As University of the West Indies geographers who study risk perception and political ecology, we recognize the deep, human-induced roots of climate change, inequality and the underdevelopment of former colonies – all of which increase the Caribbean’s vulnerability to disaster.

Risk, vulnerability and poverty

Disaster risk is a function of both a place’s physical hazard exposure – that is, how directly it is threatened by disaster – and its social vulnerability, specifically, how resilient it is.

Across most Caribbean islands, hazard exposure is about the same, but research shows that poverty and social inequality drastically magnify the severity of disasters.

Haiti, where eight out of every 10 people live on less than $4 a day, offers an example of how capitalism, gender and history converge to compound storm damage.

The country is among the Western Hemisphere’s poorest in large part because of imperialism. After Haitians successfully overthrew their European enslavers in 1804, global powers economically stifled the island. From 1915 to 1934, the U.S. first militarily occupied Haiti, and then followed a policy of intervention that continues to have lasting effects on its governance.

International interference and the resulting weak institutions, in turn, impeded development, poverty reduction and empowerment efforts.

In such a context, disasters aggravate a country’s numerous existing social vulnerabilities. Take gender, for example. Mental health professionals offering support to victims after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake found that an extraordinarily high number of displaced women – up to 75 percent – had experienced sexual violence. This prior trauma exacerbated the women’s post-disaster stress responses.

Geography and gender

Inequality and underdevelopment are perhaps less marked in the rest of the Caribbean, but from Antigua and Barbuda to St. Kitts and Nevis, socioeconomic problems are now complicating both disaster preparedness and response.

Across the region, people spend most of their income on daily essentials like food, clean water, shelter and medicine, with little left over for greeting Irma and Maria with lifesaving hurricane-resilient roofs, storm shutters, solar generators and first aid kits.

For the poor, emergency radios and satellite telephones that could warn of impending disasters are largely unaffordable, as is homeowners’ insurance to hasten recovery.

Poorer Caribbean residents also tend to live in the most disaster-prone areas because housing is cheaper on unstable deforested hillsides and eroding riverbanks. This exponentially increases the danger they face. The low construction quality of these dwellings offers less protection during storms while, post-disaster, emergency vehicles may not be able to access these areas.

Caribbean women will also continue to be at particular risk well after Maria passes. In a region where gender roles remain quite rigid, women are typically tasked with childcare, harvesting, cooking, cleaning, washing and the like.

Even in post-disaster settings, women are expected to perform household labor. So when water supplies are contaminated (with sewage, E. coli, salmonella, cholera, yellow fever, and hepatitis A, among others), women are disproportionately exposed to illness.

The work of nourishing the spirits and bodies of others when food and water shortages occur is also thrust onto women, even though they generally have less access to income and credit than men.

No place for politics

Politics, too, play a role in how the Caribbean is faring during this tumultuous hurricane season. Longtime colonial rule isn’t the only reason Caribbean societies and ecosystems are now so vulnerable.

Many contemporary governments in the region are, arguably, also doing their part to make life generally worse for marginalized communities. In Trinidad and Tobago, divestment in public education has hurt working-class university students, youth from low-income communities and older adults who were previously eligible for financial aid.

In oil-rich Guyana, dependency upon fossil fuels has invited an eager ExxonMobil in for a round of drilling, despite its track record for extracting, polluting and taking profits largely elsewhere. And, from Jamaica to Belize, widespread corruption and land rights violations have severed relationships of trust between people and the states that are, in theory, supposed to protect them.

When storms threaten, such policies and practices intensify the Caribbean’s societal and ecological risks.

Irma and Maria are surely not the last extreme disasters that will strike the region. To survive and flourish in this dangerous new normal, Caribbean countries would do well to look to the heart of these issues, rethinking the concept of risk and mindfully engaging with factors like poverty, gender and climate change.

In practice, this means identifying their most vulnerable communities and working to improve their day-to-day well-being – not just their survival in a storm.

The Caribbean’s own Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), from the island of Martinique, recognized these complexities in his book, “The Wretched of the Earth.”

Fanon asserted that democracy and the political education of the masses, across all post-colonial geographies, is a “historical necessity.” Presciently, he also noted that “the soil needs researching, as well as the subsoil, the rivers, and why not the sun.”

As the Caribbean looks for solutions to the damage and suffering brought on by both nature’s revolt and social inequality, Fanon’s words seem like a good place to start.

 

 

By: Levi Gahman and Gabrielle Thongs
Date: September 20, 2017
Source: The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/in-the-caribbean-colonialism-and-inequality-mean-hurricanes-hit-harder-84106

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Does higher education contribute to rising inequality?

 

There has been an enormous increase in economic inequality in most Western countries over the past 30 years or so. In the United Kingdom the share of income taken by the top 1% has more than doubled (to 12%); in the United States it has more than tripled. Inequalities of wealth are even greater.

What has happened to personal and household incomes has been paralleled by what has happened to functional incomes. In Britain the share of gross domestic product or GDP accounted for by wages has fallen from just over 60% in 1975 to just under 50% in 2015 (the comparable US percentages are 57% and 53%). It is widely recognised that, after climate change, increased inequality is the greatest challenge now facing the Western world.

In the past, some degree of economic inequality has been justified on the basis that it provides the necessary incentives to work, study and invest. But work by international economists shows that high levels of inequality are actually detrimental to economic growth and innovation, one of the main reasons for this being the increasing gap between what different families can invest in education and training (leading in turn to more variable levels of educational attainment).

Higher levels of inequality also lead to higher levels of debt which in turn lead to greater economic instability. There is also damage to social cohesion, social mobility and social justice. But perhaps the greatest damage is to democratic politics, as the interests and views of a wealthy minority dominate the agendas of the main political parties and the media. This can already be seen clearly in the US and is beginning to happen in the UK as well.

The inequality crisis

There are many different explanations for the growth in inequality. So-called ‘market’ theories emphasise underlying structural developments such as globalisation, skill-biased technological change and financialisation (the increasingly important role played by finance in the modern economy).

By contrast, ‘institutional’ theories draw attention to the policies and decisions of individual countries and governments, and especially the neoliberal reforms of deregulation and privatisation associated with President Ronald Reagan and Mrs Margaret Thatcher.

In my new book, The Inequality Crisis: The facts and what we can do about it, I argue that increasing inequality is partly the result of these underlying structural developments and partly the result of the neoliberal reforms that exacerbated their detriments or at least enabled them. So if we are really serious about reducing or checking inequality, our starting point has to be revisiting and reversing these reforms, perhaps beginning with the labour and capital markets.

HE’s role in combating inequality

So where does higher education stand in all this?

Historically, higher education has been seen as one of the main engines of social mobility. This has indeed been one of the main reasons why higher education has attracted large amounts of both public and private investment.

But there is no denying the fact that in both Britain and America social mobility has actually been falling over the same period that higher education has been expanding.

In fact, the post-80s expansion of higher education may actually have contributed to the growth of inequality as a huge gap has opened up between people with and without college degrees.

This gap can be seen in the continuing difference in financial rewards between graduates with degrees and high school graduates, the ‘graduate premium’; in the growing geographical separation of communities with and without large concentrations of graduates, which is becoming an important issue in its own right; and in the differences in attitudes towards ‘popular reform’ in the Brexit and US presidential election votes, where it seems clear that the best indicator of whether someone will vote for a populist, anti-establishment candidate is whether they have high-school qualifications or above.

Does this mean that there is nothing higher education can do to improve matters?

There are actually three sets of things we can do.

First, we should analyse the phenomenon of rising inequality (and not just in the advanced Western societies) so that society generally can have a better understanding of its extent, causes and consequences.

In spite of the current ridiculous animus against ‘experts’ there is no substitute for this activity and no one else can undertake it.

We can show how these neoliberal policies of marketisation are creating in higher education exactly the same effects as in the larger society, with greater and greater inequalities between the institutions and the constituencies they serve as well as a wide range of other costs and detriments.

Second, we should distance ourselves from the commercial league tables and guides that use material from the rankings; we should explain the methodological problems and limitations of those rankings, the UK’s National Student Survey, (so-called) Key Information Set, and wretched Teaching Excellence Framework, and other similar devices; we should show how we use our resources to provide the best possible education for our students and how our investment in research and scholarship contributes to this and other societal goals; and we should limit our expenditure on attention-grabbing activities like marketing, advertising and branding, preferably through sector-wide agreements controlling such activities.

Finally, we should re-examine and if necessary re-direct the curriculum we offer our students. We should reject the idea that higher education is essentially a preparation for the labour market. Instead, we should be attending to the development in each student of the personal values and characteristics that will in turn produce a new generation of citizens committed to producing a fairer, happier, and more productive society.
 

Professor Roger Brown is the former vice-chancellor of Southampton Solent University, UK. This is based on a presentation he is giving at a seminar being held jointly by the Society for Research into Higher Education and the Centre for Higher Education Studies at the UCL Institute of Education, UK, on 4 October 2017. His book, The Inequality Crisis: The facts and what we can do about it, is published by Policy Press

 

By: Roger Brown
Date: September 29, 2017 Issue No.: 476
Source: University World News
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20170928160228827

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Singapore’s approach to addressing socio-economic inequality has ‘served it well’: Indranee

 

Singapore targets its subsidies and assistance to those who need it more, says Senior Minister of State for Finance Indranee Rajah

SINGAPORE: The approach taken by Singapore to addressing socio-economic inequality has served it well so far, said Senior Minister of State for Finance Indranee Rajah on Monday (Oct 2), noting that even as income gaps widen elsewhere, inequality here has been kept in check.

Speaking in Parliament, she said Singapore’s Gini coefficient has moderated over the last five years. “Our people have also seen good income growth, with the lower-income seeing their real per capita household income grow by close to 20 per cent over the last five years.”

The Gini coefficient is a measure of income inequality.

She was responding to a question from Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera, who had asked if the Finance Ministry would regularly review the Government’s commitment to socio-economic inequality, and publish the results of such reviews. He had cited recent findings from a study by Oxfam and Development Finance International that ranked Singapore eighty-sixth in the world in this regard.

Ms Indranee noted that the rankings were based on the absolute amount of social spending, with the assumption that the higher the level of spending, the better the situation will be, regardless of whether the spending leads to effective outcomes.

“The authors have acknowledged the limitations of their study in representing the different circumstances of individual countries,” she said. “This is the case for Singapore, where we target our subsidies and assistance to those who are more needy.”

“This focused approach to reducing inequality enables us to keep our tax burden low while ensuring our social expenditure is prudent, fair and progressive.”

She also outlined the Government’s various support schemes for Singaporeans at different life stages, noting that more support goes to the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

“All these schemes add up to a system that is highly progressive,” she said. “All in all, low-income households receive almost S$4 of benefits for every dollar of tax paid, while the middle-income households receive almost S$2 for every dollar of tax paid.”

In response to a supplementary question from Mr Perera, Ms Indranee also stressed that every year in the Budget, Singapore reviews what it can do better. “It is part of each ministry’s duty and responsibility to see where the gaps are,” she said.

This is published in the Singapore Public Sector Outcomes Review (SPOR) report every two years, she added. Socio-economic indicators and outcomes are also published every year in the Key Household Income Trends report by the Department of Statistics.

“In other words, this is not something we do every five to 10 years,” she said. “It is part and parcel of the day-to-day work of the ministries.”

“Occasionally, we may have bigger reviews, but it is really something that is done each and every day of the ministries’ work.”

 

By: Lianne Chia
Date: October 2, 2017
Source: Channel NewsAsia
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-s-approach-to-addressing-socio-economic-inequality-has-9270318

Posted in Latest Post, Social and Economic Inequalities | Leave a comment

How inequality became the big issue troubling the world’s top economists

 

Every three years, all Nobel Prize winners in economics are invited to gather in the tranquil setting of the German island of Lindau to meet a selection of bright young economists and discuss the state of their profession. But this year such tranquility was challenged by worrying political developments across the globe. Perhaps unexpectedly, one of the central themes of the meeting became what to do about inequality.

While not all laureates would go as far as Jean Tirole, the 2014 Nobel Prize winner, who said that economic inequality itself is a form of “market failure”, it is clear that the political and social effects of growing inequality are drawing increasing attention from those at the top of the economics profession.

In a panel discussion on inequality, James Heckman, the 2000 Nobel laureate, pointed out that inequality had grown faster in the US and the UK than other Western democracies. Heckman said that changes to the tax system that favoured the rich had to be a key part of the explanation. He was also worried about the decline in social mobility, particularly for those on low pay.

Heckman also pointed out that the low income of many single-parent families, whose numbers have increased sharply over the last few decades, had also increased inequality. He argued strongly for wage subsidies to boost the income of the working poor, and increased subsidies for childcare to help more single parents enter the labour market.

Towards a Universal Basic Income

Peter Diamond and Sir Christopher Pissarides, who shared the Nobel Prize in 2010 for their work on labour markets, both told me that they now favoured a universal basic income(UBI), which would give a minimum basic income to all citizens regardless of their economic status. Pissarides argued that the rapid spread of robots and AI is a threat to large numbers of less-skilled jobs. Without some government intervention, this will widen inequality, he believes. He would support UBI as long as it was carefully calibrated to be below the minimum wage to avoid disrupting the labour market.

Diamond told me that the growing inequality in the US was now as issue that had to be faced. In a recent paper, he demonstrated just how much the US was an outlier across a wide range of measures of inequality, including income, wealth, poverty and social mobility.

Diamond believes that the debate on inequality can help focus discussion on policy failures: from the lack of investment in education, research and infrastructure, to the failure to compensate those who bore the cost of globalisation through job losses in heavy industry. He also argues that direct transfers, including introducing child benefit to everyone who has children and a UBI, would help tackle poverty. While he does not think that the goal of policy should necessarily be focused on redistributing wealth, he believes that the economic challenges in the US require a higher level of government spending, and therefore higher taxation on the better off.

Both Diamond and Pissarides are prepared to consider higher taxes on wealth as part of the policy mix. Focusing on the US, Diamond favours a substantial increase in inheritance tax. From a UK perspective, Pissarides argues for some increased taxation of housing. He is in favour of taxing the capital gains from the sales of houses, rather than (at present) only taxing housing when it is inherited. He believes this could also have a beneficial effect on house prices, which are becoming unaffordable for many young people.

The paradox of global inequality

While much of the meeting focused on inequality in rich countries, the question of inequality in developing countries was not ignored. Eric Maskin, the 2007 Nobel laureate for his work on mechanism design, pointed out the paradox that while global inequality between countries was narrowing, due to the rapid economic growth of China and India, it was “deeply troubling” that inequality within developing countries was increasing.

Maskin suggested that this was in contradiction to the widely held economics theory of comparative advantage. This is the idea, put forward by economist David Ricardo in the 19th century, that the wages of unskilled workers in poorer countries rise as they enter global markets. Maskin suggested that this no longer holds as we now have an integrated global labour market – not a national one – with global supply chains and communications networks enabling companies to ignore national boundaries.

One of the purposes of the Lindau meeting is to encourage younger economists to think radically about what new areas of research they should focus on. It may be that these discussions will inspire the next generation to develop new policies to tackle the challenge of poverty and inequality.
Economics has often been characterised as the “dismal science” for its failure to engage with real-life issues or prevent crises like the 2008-09 global financial crisis. If this new approach takes hold, this could radically change.

 

By            :               Steve Schifferes (Professor of Financial Journalism, City, University of London)

Date         :               August 29, 2017

Source     :               The Conversation

https://theconversation.com/how-inequality-became-the-big-issue-troubling-the-worlds-top-economists-83171

Posted in Latest Post, Social and Economic Inequalities | Leave a comment
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