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Anorak | The rich get richer but absolute poverty is being beaten

The rich get richer but absolute poverty is being beaten

by | 10th, June 2013

PA-8590517

WE’RE regularly told that rising inequality is a great social evil: that it’s far better if places are more equal, that people are more equal, whatever the level of actual wealth that has been achieved.

At which point people like me start shouting “Piffle!”. For while it might indeed be true that at any level of general wealth less inequality might be a good idea (depends upon your personal views really, but it’s possible) it seems clear and obvious that everyone being equal at $1 a day is worse than having more inequality but most people are on much more than $1 a day.

That might sound extreme: but we really do have people complaining that China’s economic resurgence is leading to greater inequality and that this shows that it’s a bad thing. Except, of course, that economic resurgence is also dealing with the $1 a day poverty :

First, it appears to be true that China has made rapid progress in reducing poverty in its population. According to Li Xiaoyun’s tables just under 13% of China’s population lives in extreme poverty at incomes lower than $1.25 per day in 2011. (The next three slides are taken from an extensive presentation on China’s poverty strategies by  Professor Li Xiaoyun, China Agricultural University; link.) This is a dramatic reduction from an estimate in excess of 80% at this level in the late 1970s. This means that rural incomes have risen substantially since 1978.

I dunno about you but

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Posted: 10th, June 2013 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink