Skip to main content

China: A vast chasm in incomes

The disparity of income and wealth amongst people in countries around the world is not new.     More recently the argument about 1% of the population in the USA was a major topic of debate during the presidential election.   Then there were the revelations about the top echelons in China having amassed enormous wealth - in a Communist country, no less!

The disparity - no, vast chasm! - between rich and poor in China is highlighted in this piece in The New York Times:

"This gulf, between the prosperous and booming cities and the poor rural areas, has been expanding since the 1990s. Along with official corruption, inequality is a major source of social unrest. In Chinese cybercommunities, where sentiments are aired honestly and anonymously, cynical and celebratory comments abound over any spectacular fall of the wealthy, corrupt or privileged. Often, anger erupts over the arrogant misbehavior of the “fu er dai” — the children of wealthy families, who often have powerful political connections. On Tuesday, the government announced a vague plan to address “stark problems in income distribution.”

Last month, China reported that income inequality peaked in 2008 and has narrowed since then, though many economists believe the problem is understated. For the first time in 12 years, the government reported figures for the Gini coefficient — an indicator of inequality. It said the coefficient was 0.474 last year, down from a high of 0.491 in 2008. (Zero would represent perfect equality, and 1 would represent complete inequality.) The Gini coefficient for the United States, after taxes and transfers, is 0.378 through the late 2000s, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

China has 2.7 million millionaires and 251 billionaires (in United States dollars). But 13 percent of its people live on less than $1.25 per day, according to United Nations data. Meanwhile, average annual disposable income in the cities is about $3,500."


Popular posts from this blog

Whatever democracy the Palestinians had is dying

Almost a desperate cry from a well-known, respected and sober moderate Palestinian.

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was a candidate for the Palestinian presidency in 2005.

He writes in a piece "The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy" on FP:

"Palestinian municipal elections were supposed to be held last week. Instead, they were canceled. A statement released by the Palestinian Authority claimed the cancellation was "in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity" between Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and the government in the West Bank.

The cancellation of this election was an unjustified, unlawful, and unacceptable act. It damages democratic rights and makes a mockery of the interests of the Palestinian people.

But this is far more than an internal Palestinian issue. The only lasting peace between Isr…

Big Brother alive and well in the USA in 2007

The so-called "war on terror" has shown itself up in a multitude of manifestations. The most dangerous thing has been governments using the "excuse" of the war to restrict certain civil liberties, allowing government agencies to pursue a variety of things that they would otherwise would not - and should not - be allowed to do and gathering, and retaining, a variety of information on its citizens.

The Washington Post reports on the latest incursions into civil liberties of all Americans:

"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as lo…