Monday, December 16, 2013

United States Is Now the Most Unequal of All Advanced Economies

According to the most accurate data we have to measure, the US is now the most unequal of all advanced economies, being beat only by countries such as Ukraine and Russia.  Of course, Americans typically look at those countries as run by a bunch of mafia oligarch thugs, and believe the dream that people in the US gained their wealth through "hard work, dedication, and innovation."  Of course, statistics are not published on the millions of bankrupt potential billionaires, or the fact that the DOW removes losers every so often, or that Bill Gates comes from a family of corporate lawyers (whose father was on the board of IBM at the time of the big 'deal' that made Microsoft what it is).

From Popular Resistance:
The most authoritative source comparing wealth-concentration in the various countries is the successor to the reports that used to be done for the United Nations, now performed as the Credit Suisse Global Wealth DatabookThe latest (2013) edition of it finds (p. 146) that in the U.S., 75.4% of all wealth is owned by the richest 10% of the people. The comparable figures for the other developed countries are: Australia 50.3%, Canada 57.4%, Denmark 72.2%, Finland 44.9%, France 51.8%, Germany 61.7%, Ireland 58.4%, Israel 68.9%, Italy 49.8%, Japan 49.1%, Netherlands 54.6%, New Zealand 57.6%, Norway 65.9%, Singapore 61.1%, Spain 54.0%, Sweden 71.1%, Switzerland 71.5%, and U.K. 53.3%. Those are the top 20 developed nations, and the U.S. has the most extreme wealth-concentration of them all. However, there are some other countries that have wealth-concentrations that are about as extreme as the U.S. For examples: Chile 72.5%, India 73.8%, Indonesia 75.0%, and South Africa 74.8%. The U.S. is in their league; not in the league of developed economies. In the U.S., the bottom 90% of the population own only 24.6% of all the privately held wealth, whereas in most of the developed world, the bottom 90% own around 40%; so, the degree of wealth-concentration in the U.S. is extraordinary (except for underdeveloped countries). 
The broadest mathematical measure of wealth-inequality is called “Gini,” and the higher it is, the more extreme the nation’s wealth-inequality is. The Gini for the U.S. is 85.1. Other extremely unequal countries are (pages 98-101 of this report) Chile 81.4, India 81.3, Indonesia 82.8, and South Africa 83.6. However, some nations are even more-extreme than the U.S.: Kazakhstan 86.7, Russia 93.1, and Ukraine 90.0. But Honduras and Guatemala are such rabid kleptocracies that their governments don’t even provide sufficiently reliable data for an estimate to be able to be made; and, so, some countries might be even higher than nations like Russia.

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