Inequality is rising: so?


It's most certainly true that inequality is rising within the economically advanced countries:


The question is, does this matter?

Worth noting that it does seem to be a near global phenomenon, that in country inequality is rising near everywhere. This might lead us to think that there's a global cause: no, it's not Maggie thrashing the unions, not the UK's "over-reliance" on finance or any of those sorts of purely domestic things. It's something happening to everyone.

And what has been happening to everyone? That would be this globalisation thing perhaps?

So, let us assume that in country inequality does matter, that it's a problem, that globalisation is causing it and....well, does this mean that we should reverse globalisation to deal with this problem?

Personally, I think not, for look at what else is happening at the same time:


Growth rates among the poorest of the poor, those in sub-Saharan Africa, are trundling along at much higher rates than they have historically.

Now, I'm not about to try and prove, in a blog post, that both the rising in country inequality and the growth in Africa are entirely and wholly due to increased globalisation. But it's certainly possible to argue that case, and argue it convincingly.

But let us just assume that and move onto the much more interesting question: if it is true, is it worth it?

A question to which I would answer a resounding Yes.

We in the rich countries have rising inequality, meaning that while our poor are getting richer our rich are doing so faster: and we've also got the poorest, most destitute, parts of the world getting richer faster than even our own rich. Global poverty is falling, global inequality is falling, destitution is very definitely going out of style: what's not to like about this picture?

The gap between what type of car you might have is widening in the UK: elsewhere, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, are discovering the exciting feeling of being full of food on a regular basis. Yes, I'd say that was worth it and I find it incredibly difficult to think of a way in which anyone seriously concerned about either poverty or inequality could say that it isn't.