Global income equality now back at 1820s levels: OECD

October 2, 2014

The gap between the haves and the have-nots globally is now at the same level as in the 1820s, the OECD said Thursday, warning it was one of the most "worrying" developments over the past 200 years.

In a major report on global well-being over the past two centuries, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development noted inequality shot up after globalisation took root in the 1980s.

Researchers studied income levels in 25 countries, charted them back in time to 1820 and then collated them as if the world were a single country.

The results showed that dropped sharply in the middle of the 20th century—which the OECD put down to what it called an "egalitarian revolution", notably with the rise of Communism in Eastern Europe—but then spiked more recently.

By 2000, global levels of income inequality were at the same levels as in 1820, according to the report.

"This is very striking," said Guido Alfani, from Bocconi University, who participated in the survey.

"The enormous increase of income inequality on a global scale is one of the most significant—and worrying—features of the development of the world economy in the past 200 years," concluded the OECD in the 269-page report presented to the media.

Dutch economist Jan Luiten van Zanden said the report painted a similar picture to the stark warning in the controversial but best-selling book about global income inequality by French economist Thomas Piketty, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century".

"We are telling similar stories ... we are sharing the same concerns about global inequalities," said van Zanden.

"Piketty is comparing mostly western countries. His method should be analysed on a global scale," suggested the economist.

For the landmark study, researchers looked at trends in factors such as health, education, inequality, the environment and personal security over the past 200 years in order to build a picture of global well-being.

The conclusion: "People's well-being has generally progressed since the early 20th century across a large part of the world."

Life expectancy worldwide has shot up from less than 30 years in 1880 to almost 70 in 2000.

Literacy too has risen dramatically. Less than 20 percent of people could read in 1820; now the figure is around 80 percent.

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Returners
1 / 5 (6) Oct 02, 2014
Life expectancy worldwide has shot up from less than 30 years in 1880 to almost 70 in 2000.
Literacy too has risen dramatically. Less than 20 percent of people could read in 1820; now the figure is around 80 percent.


Unfortunately, this illustrates a point I make from time to time. Higher education levels are supposed to lead to higher incomes and higher equality, in theory, but in reality they don't.

There still have to be "grunts". Farmers, ditch diggers, carpenters, plumbers, food service people, etc, don't get paid more for being able to name every nation and it's capital.

If everyone had a PhD you'd still have this problem. If everyone had two PhD's you'd still have this problem.

Mega-corporations are one aspect of the problem.

On the other end, constant tribal or internal strife and violence in low and mid-income nations is another aspect, as they keep undermining their own development (see muslims kidnapping christian girls in Africa and brainwashing them, etc).
Returners
1 / 5 (7) Oct 02, 2014
Healthy Mid and low class Americans actually work harder now than they did in the 1980's, because we have a higher expectation of living standards, including these $300 to $500 smartphones and PCs we like to sit behind on our spare time.

We may be "rich" compared to Africans, but we probably actually work longer hours than them when the economy is "strong".

When I worked quality, I did was scheduled Eoweo, supposedly 3 and 4 of 12's, but I ended up doing more like 5 to 6 12's every week...on night shift. Then look across the floor at a guy who was doing 7 of 12's almost every week, so he could get the 2.5 time bonus on sundays (you had to work 13 days in a row to qualify). And I was like, "WTF is this? Forget that. You work to live, not live to work."

Speaking of the Muslims kidnapping girls, it disgusts me that the U.S. and U.N. have done absolutely nothing to assassinate those involved and recover the girls. Not enough OIL involved, I guess...Assholes.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (11) Oct 02, 2014
Unfortunately, this illustrates a point I make from time to time
What, that people who are drunk or drugged up shouldnt be posting here? You make that point a lot.
Speaking of the Muslims kidnapping girls, it disgusts me that the U.S. and U.N. have done absolutely nothing to assassinate those involved and recover the girls. Not enough OIL involved, I guess...Assholes
Funny I dont see anything in the article about muslims kidnapping girls. And who was speaking with you about this? Yahweh in your head again?

You really are stoned out of your gourd arent you?
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Oct 02, 2014
More data showing the failure of socialism.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 02, 2014
"The gap between the haves and the have-nots globally is now at the same level as in the 1820s, "
Most 'haves' of 1820 were worse off than the 'have-nots' of today.
ryggesogn2
2.7 / 5 (7) Oct 02, 2014
"Stiglitz and Piketty's failure to mention the effects of immigration on labor is even more striking given their left-wing pedigree. Their socialist forebears were making the above arguments and agitating against open-borders since the first immigration wave hit the country at the end of the 19th century. The current open-borders position of the contemporary left is actually such an about-face from the old left one could say it has totally broken away from its traditional moorings.

Founder of the American Federation of Labor and San Francisco native Samuel Gompers single-handedly pushed through America's first immigration restriction laws in the early 1920s."
"Cesar Chavez, the original minuteman, met incoming illegal immigrants at the border with clubs and said in 1979 that the nation's failure to keep a lid on immigration had led to people "being hurt and being destroyed with the complicity of the federal government.""
http://dailycalle...onomists
alfie_null
5 / 5 (3) Oct 03, 2014
"The gap between the haves and the have-nots globally is now at the same level as in the 1820s, "
Most 'haves' of 1820 were worse off than the 'have-nots' of today.

Intentionally missing the point. If the goal is to live better than our forebears, we could have ceased striving to improve our lot millenia ago.
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2014
"The gap between the haves and the have-nots globally is now at the same level as in the 1820s, "
Most 'haves' of 1820 were worse off than the 'have-nots' of today.

Intentionally missing the point. If the goal is to live better than our forebears, we could have ceased striving to improve our lot millenia ago.


Actually, I think it is you who missed the point. And why anyone would rate rygg2's post a 1 just shows there is a mindless liberal troll rating cabal at physorg, as he simple posted a relevant fact. After all the article itself choose to make the comparison between 1820 and now.

This notion that "global income inequality" is a "problem" is utter leftist gibberish. It is a non-problem,... it is merely a consequence of the element of freedom in economies. It is easy to mine for statistics that support a leftist agenda,..... but they are always merely acceptable costs associated with maintaining freedom of action.

....
Noumenon
3 / 5 (8) Oct 03, 2014
..... The article even admits this with this quote .... "The results showed that income inequality dropped sharply in the middle of the 20th century—[..] an "egalitarian revolution", notably with the rise of Communism in Eastern Europe"

Egalitarianism, 'that all men are created equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities', is already the cornerstone of western democracy,.. the difference, which is not mentioned, between communism and freedom/democracy in the west is that ... 'that all men are equal' does not guarantee 'equality of results'. Communism forces "equality of results" upon all, and this is an injustice of the highest order.

What has forced 'equality of results' accomplished for mankind except millions of deaths under Stalin? Income inequality is a necessary result of maintaining freedom of action. THIS has done more for humanity than any other system of economics in history,.... "the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in history." - B. Obama
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2014
'Income inequality' is another word for the deadly sins of Envy, Anger, Greed and Sloth.
(And it not the Greed of the 'haves' but the Greed of the socialists who demand forced redistribution.)

Noumenon
2.5 / 5 (8) Oct 03, 2014

I love quoting Obama quoting another president,... because I know the majority of the liberal troll rating cabal who votes in the USA had voted for him.
gkam
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 03, 2014
I have an entire calendar of Dubya quotations.

Hilarious!
gkam
3.2 / 5 (5) Oct 03, 2014
The disparity in wealth and opportunity in America has reached levels of social instability, and needs the Bush Police State to keep us in line. We have become suspects in our own country since Bush, with out-of-control intelligence agencies working against us instead of for us.
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2014
There is no disparity in opportunity. Liberals are perpetual victims. Victims never prosper.

The disparity in wealth and opportunity in America has reached levels of social instability, and needs the Bush Police State to keep us in line. We have become suspects in our own country since Bush, with out-of-control intelligence agencies working against us instead of for us.


You do know that Bush has been out of office for six years, don't you?

For a supposedly incompetent president, you bed-wetting liberals sure to do credit a lot to Bush,.... Bush must have even convinced the most liberal president in history, Obama, to fight the terrorist war, keep gitmo bay open, and expand the NSA program even more.

gkam
1 / 5 (2) Oct 03, 2014
"You do know that Bush has been out of office for six years, don't you?"
------------------------------------

Does that mean you are ready to pay for him?
gkam
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 03, 2014
"There is no disparity in opportunity."
----------------------------------

Yeah, every adolescent draft-dodging kid had the same chance to be president as Dubya.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (4) Oct 03, 2014
Your still blaming Bush after six years out of office and six years of your guy in office,... where's you dignity man?

""I think it's important to recognize that you can't have 100 per cent security and also then have 100 per cent privacy and zero inconvenience" - Obama on NSA which he expanded greatly.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2014
"You do know that Bush has been out of office for six years, don't you?"
------------------------------------

Does that mean you are ready to pay for him?


In part I blame him for the housing bubble because he bragged about increased home ownership amongst minorities during his term, even though he warned about it. You see, the economic issue at end of Bush's term was directly due to gov meddling in the housing market,.. a liberal idea to artificially increase home ownership.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 03, 2014
"Housing bubble"? What?

How about two unfunded wars with War Crimes, gross corporate crime, and the Police State, to start? Then, add in the Great Republican Economic Meltdown wherein we lost 40% of the value of America.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) Oct 03, 2014
"First Union Capital Markets Corp. and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. have
priced a $384.6 million offering of securities backed by Community Reinvestment Act
(CRA) loans - marking the industry's first public securitization of CRA loans.
The affordable mortgages were originated or acquired by First Union Corporation and
subsidiaries. Customers will experience no impact - they will continue to make
payments to and be serviced by First Union Mortgage Corp. CRA loans are loans
targeted to low and moderate income borrowers and neighborhoods under the
Community Reinvestment Act of 1977."
""First Union is committed to promoting home ownership in traditionally underserved markets through a comprehensive line of competitive and flexible affordable mortgage products."
"The $384.6 million in senior certificates are guaranteed by Freddie Mac"
October 20, 1997 Wacovia Press Release
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (4) Oct 03, 2014
"It is precisely the intersection of Ebola and globalization that worries me. The only response to a virus this deadly is to quarantine it. Stop flights, suspend visas, and beef up customs and security. It can be done. If the FAA can cancel flights to Israel, why can't it cancel flights to and from the West African countries whence the outbreak originated?

Simple: because doing so would violate the sacred principles by which our bourgeois liberal elite operate. To deny an individual entry to the United States over fears of contamination would offend our elite's sense of humanitarian cosmopolitanism. For them, "singling out" nations or cultures from which threats to the public health or safety of the United States originate is illegitimate. It "stigmatizes" those nations or cultures, it "shames" them, it makes them feel unequal. It's judgmental. It suggests that America prefers her already existing citizens to others."
http://freebeacon...r-panic/
Noumenon
3 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2014
What war crimes? Non-sense. Why even mention Bush when Obama increased the debt by $7 trillion, more in four years than Bush did in eight years. By the time Obama finishes he will have doubled the debt!

"The Great Republican Economic Meltdown"?? Really? Not that simple. Clinton disagrees with you. It was his administration that lowered mortgage loan standards,....

"I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac." - Bill Clinton

Yes, Bush administration is also responsible as I pointed out.
Goika
Oct 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
1 / 5 (3) Oct 03, 2014
. . the so-called renewable are just very expensive dream and they cannot provide the sustainable progress anyway."

---------------------------------------
At least as far as Goika knows. Many of the rest of us know otherwise.

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