You may already have seen more recent indications of this, but contrary to published reports of China’s growing inequality, leading to imminent political instability, here is an article from the Atlantic stating the World Bank puts the US as far more unequal than China.
Map: U.S. Ranks Near Bottom on Income Inequality
I’ve seen more recent figures that place the US even lower than does this article, and China yet much better than the US.
Viewed comparatively, U.S. income inequality is even worse than you might expect.
Income inequality is more severe in the U.S. than it is in nearly all of West Africa, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.
We’re on par with some of the world’s most troubled countries, and not far from the perpetual conflict zones of Latin American and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Our income gap is also getting worse, having widened both in absolute and relative terms since the 1980s.
The U.S., in purple with a Gini coefficient of 0.450, ranks near the extreme end of the inequality scale.
Looking for the other countries marked in purple gives you a quick sense of countries with comparable income inequality, and it’s an unflattering list: Cameroon, Madagascar, Rwanda, Uganda, Ecuador.
A number are currently embroiled in or just emerging from deeply destabilizing conflicts, some of them linked to income inequality: Mexico, Côte d’Ivoire, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Serbia.
Perhaps most damning is China, significantly more equal than the U.S. with a Gini coefficient of 0.415, where the severe income gap has been a source of worsening political instability for almost 20 years.
I appreciate the positive note for China, but wonder about the source of the accusation that the income gap has been a “source of worsening political instability for almost 20 years.”
That seems a bit of a stretch.
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“All my life I’ve heard Latin America described as a failed society (or collection of failed societies) because of its grotesque maldistribution of wealth. Peasants in rags beg for food outside the high walls of opulent villas, and so on.
But according to the Central Intelligence Agency (whose patriotism I hesitate to question), income distribution in the United States is more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador.
Income inequality is actually declining in Latin America even as it continues to increase in the United States. Economically speaking, the richest nation on earth is starting to resemble a banana republic. The main difference is that the United States is big enough to maintain geographic distance between the villa-dweller and the beggar.”