Global economic inequality

 Although progress has been made in the world to eradicate poverty, economic inequality continues to exist.

Since 1980, it has been strengthening the concept among economists that poverty does not decrease, regardless of the efforts made to eradicate it, if inequality issues are not simultaneously corrected. Lately this concept has gained more strength and entities such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or OXFAM, propose that any strategy to reduce poverty must contain the issue of inequality and its reduction.


Economic inequality will take place whenever different people or groups enjoy different income, wealth, or well-being. We must not confuse inequality with poverty. Poverty and inequality may or may not coexist.


The current disparities are an obstacle to the rights and well-being of people, they hinder social justice. They impede social mobility or access to education or health in equal conditions.


When we talk about inequality we can express it both from the Gini index and the Gini coefficient, both represent the same concept, the only difference is that the Gini index is expressed as a percentage. In this way, the Gini index is equal to the Gini coefficient multiplied by 100 and expressed in %.


According to information from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on inequality in developed countries, a great variability is detected in the value of the indicators, in a range that ranges from a Gini coefficient of 0.25 in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Slovenia, up to 0.41 in Turkey and 0.39 in the United States.


In the case of developing countries, the dispersion of inequality levels is greater than in developed countries, with a difference of almost 40 points between them: from a Gini index of 25.6 in Ukraine, to one of 63 .1 in South Africa.


Some data that highlight the situation in which we currently live:


  • In developing countries, the 20% of children in poverty are up to three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children in the richest regions. Probabilities or probability?
  • In most developing countries, women living in the countryside are three times more likely to die in childbirth than women in cities.
  • Up to 30% of income inequality is due to inequality within households.


What is the reason for economic inequality?

There are numerous factors that influence the appearance of economic inequality:

Difficulties in accessing training. When people cannot access knowledge, their job opportunities are limited, which perpetuates poverty.


Gender inequality. The fact that women in many countries receive unequal treatment in terms of access to education or the world of work has negative effects on society.

Conflicts. Wars and contexts of prolonged violence produce poverty, lack of security and fear generate instability in all areas of life and hinder progress.


Other reasons, the stagnation of wages, the gradual decline of the welfare state in developed economies and insufficient social protection in developing countries.



How does it affect individuals?

The effects of inequalities are not limited only to the economic aspect, but also affect life expectancy and access to basic services, such as health care, education, water, and can limit human rights, for example, due to discrimination, abuse and lack of access to justice. When inequalities are considerable, they discourage professional training, obstruct economic and social mobility and human development. They also entrench uncertainty, vulnerability and insecurity, destroy trust in institutions and the government, increase social tensions, and trigger violence and conflict. They also affect the ability of people and communities to adapt to climate change.


Socioeconomic inequality leads to poor health conditions and premature deaths, due to less access to health care and poorer nutrition. For example, being of low socioeconomic status in the US means having more limited access to health care and living in more disease-prone environments. We must also talk about body wear and tear due to the chronic stress caused by living in these conditions.


Economic inequality differs greatly from one country to another. The fight against inequality must be based on the context of each country, its most pressing economic needs and its political reality. It is not possible to adopt a single approach that fits all cases.


To combat this, it will remain essential to raise awareness and broaden policy support, set targets and reprioritize public spending to reduce inequality of access and opportunity, reorient fiscal frameworks to reduce inequalities within and intergenerational trends of income and wealth, and managing the rapid pace of technological change.


What are the reasonable and fair limits for a society to have a reasonable degree of diversity. In discussions of diversity and inequality, the argument that a completely homogeneous society is not desirable. It would be a society deprived of the dynamism that leads to progress and the spontaneous effort that brings competitiveness and characterizes the human race.

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