The powers in terms of economy. Due to

The world has changed over the past few decades. Since the mid-80s, we have seen statistics that concern inequality change fundamentally. Who takes a quick look at the statistics that indicate income and wealth, must conclude that our world has done a good job on improving the global situation of inequality. Global poverty has decreased over the last decades of the 20th century; were there between 1.1 and 1.5 billion people living in poverty in 1980, this number came down to under a billion by 2005. Almost all were living in Africa, Asia and Central-or Latin America. The promising numbers can be explained by the fast economic growth of upcoming nations; certain countries that used to be considered as developing nations, concerning Brazil, Russia, India and China as most notifiable, have developed to world powers in terms of economy. Due to the force of traded globalization, the global inequalities across countries have been diminishing slowly. With this development carrying on, we can be sure that global inequality between countries will decline. However, while you could say these numbers indicate a reduction of inequality across countries, it may give a false image of global inequality. The statistics do not show any form of inequality within countries. For a correct image of this, we have to analyse statistics like the Gini-index, which measures the income inequality within countries. The Gini coefficients, with 0 as completely equal and 100 as maximum inequality, show us some shocking numbers: in nearly every country,  the Gini-coefficient has risen between 1980 and 2015. Developed countries like the USA (from 45.0 to 47.7) , Japan (24.3 to 32.1) and France (29.7 to 32.9) have seen their Gini coefficient rise over the years, while also developing countries, including the most populous countries (China and India) have a higher coefficient than around 1980. Only Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Turkey and Spain have had a drop in their coefficient, and therefore an improvement in income equality.What has happened over the decades that such a regression in equality has been possible? The growth of certain social categories must have played a clear role. First of all, the middle class has grown. The middle class is defined as the people that can afford goods and services beyond their basic needs1, such as cars and furniture, and does care about both price and quality. The middle class grew from around 20 percent of the world population in 1980 to around 30 percent in 2015, and will continue to grow. With this development in mind, it is disturbing to see that the median household income is lower than it was in the end of the eighties, and a full-time male worker earns less money than 40 years ago. At the same time, the group of people that own more than one million US dollars, has also grown over the years. By the end of 2012, there were around 11.9 million millionaires in the world. A notifiable fact is that the most billionaires are located in BRIC-countries, strengthening the assumption that the emerging of this countries does not especially have improved the equality. Only the working class that worked in export-oriented sectors could benefit from globalization and climb up the ladder, and inequality between cities and countryside has extremely increased during the uneven economic growth.With all these data and statistics in mind, the question must rise if the recent financial crisis had any influence on the  in the western world. The answer is: barely, although the growing wealth inequality has been slowed down. Before the Great Recession, the gap between the rich and the other groups was growing quickly. Because the wealthiest people were the ones that were hit the hardest by the crashing stock markets, this development has at least been decelerated, but during the crisis the richest 1% in the United States still owns 225 more than the average American, twice as much as 30 years ago.2 Other numbers from the US are shocking as well: 22% of all American children grow up in federal poverty and more than a sixth of all Americans had no health insurance at the time of 2014. The concept of the American Dream may still sound appealing, for the lowest class in society however, it is a meaningless word; their chances to climb up the social ladder are becoming smaller by time. When the rich can purchase privileges for their children, the ones who are born in the lowest class automatically have less opportunities and will likely end up at the bottom as well. This development must be a troubling sign for the United States. The dividedness is nowhere as high as in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, another ‘wealthy’ nation.Thus, income and wealth inequality has not developed itself in a positive manner over the years. However, when speaking about other forms of inequality, we must conclude a rather progress in social terms. Since the 80s, it is without a doubt that gender-equality and the awareness on the importance of it have increased. In no other era, more women have been working as now, and they are more educated than ever before. A logical consequence was the growth of the amount of woman millionaires, to around 27 percent of all millionaires in 2010. Among the billionaires, the percentage of women is 10.8 percent. We could still say a gender gap is present, although this gap is rapidly decreasing. Nevertheless, these numbers do not give a correct global overall image, since they merely apply to developed countries. In 128 countries, discrimination against women is still a legal act, turns out a 2010 report from World Bank. Africa and the Middle-East are the most alarming regions, where gender education inequality is still a serious problem and women’s paid labor activity is the lowest in the world. Yet, some rich areas, like Southern Europe and Japan are far behind in terms of women employment rates. The reason for this is that in all places on earth, women continue doing most of the childcare and household. Moreover, in richer nations, the career segregation by gender is higher  than in developing countries. In short, both gender inequality is still a immense problem worldwide, both in developing as in developed societies. A last serious inequality issue is the difference in wealth between certain ethnic groups, where we once again will analyse numbers from the United States. Between 2005 and 2009, the period before and during the economic crisis, the average Afro-American household lost 53% of its wealth, and the average Hispanic household lost even more: 66% of its wealth. Compare this with the percentage of wealth that the average white household lost, 16%, and we cannot draw any other conclusion than that racial inequality in terms of financial situation is a massive problem in the US.After inferring an increase in inequality within almost all countries, we will now look what kind of consequences a large inequality has on a society. Firstly, the inequality will lead to more inequality, deducing from my unequal opportunity argument mentioned before. There has not  been any indication of a soon change in development, indeed, exclusively evidence of further stagnation of the class under the top while the rich actually become richer. For the social relations between these groups this is a truly bad process. The social landscape changes in such a manner that the top could deteriorate its behaviour, since they can feel more entitled to e its achievements, while the lower classes will distrust the leaders of their society and therefore, possibly their government. A divided society cannot function well. When the rich get more influence in the democratic debate, the economical inequality will translate itself in an impairment of the democracy. However, despite their top positions and influence, the top has not been the category that has made the fundamental progress in society; the brilliant individuals that made inventions and helped society move forward were mostly active in the middle class. The wealthy top mainly consists out of people that were able to obtain a bigger share of wealth instead of increasing it, for instance by smartly investing or getting a favorable position in a big company. In short, a large inequality may lead to social and political tensions.Inequality is also perverse for the economy. According to an IMF research, there is a strong correlation between higher inequality greater economical instability. In many countries, growing levels of inequality can be seen as one of the reasons of impoverished economic performance.  On reason for this is that growing inequality weakens demand, therefore, a decrease of spendings by lower classes will automatically decrease the incomes of the upper class. Large companies will turn less profit; governments will receive less taxes et cetera. With so many people at the top being independent on economic growth via investments, there is an extra reason for them to keep down inequality. Moreover, when the poor cannot invest in education, the country will miss out on potential talent. There are people that may argue the opposite: that giving more money to the top will help the lower class as well, because jobs are created by the top. A little too much jumping to conclusions, since it is demand that creates jobs, so the companies exclusively create jobs that society demands. Absurdly high incomes for the top of society will not create any more opportunities for the lower class; that is a huge misconception. Hence, growing inequality will affect the economy and therefore all classes in society.After concluding the horrible consequences of high inequality, we can think of a way out of it. A hopeful thought is that inequality is mainly a result of policies, and therefore there is a way to solve the problem. The fact that some countries have managed to retain low inequality and some to even reduce it, can be a lesson. While I personally dislike a socialist system, there have been certain richer nations like France and Scandinavian countries, that have resisted the increasing inequality without being required to reform their system. In Scandinavia, a public healthcare system leads to more equal achievements of health outcomes.


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