Gap between the Rich and the Poor Widening
By Dr. A. Khan 
Chicago, IL

 

The gap in income among the people in the developed world and the developing world is widening. The disparity prevails between countries and within them.  As the G-20 group met to discuss how to deal with global “banking “dilemma, they ought to have addressed the growing income inequity among their own people. 
The Gini index (a measure of inequality of income distribution, expressed as a ratio between 0 and 1, where 0 represents perfect equality and 1 presents  perfect inequity) for G-20 countries reveals the widening trend of inequity between and within these countries:  Argentina (0.513),  Australia (0.352), Brazil (0.57), Canada (0.326), China (0.469), France (0.327), Germany (0.283), , India (0.37),  Indonesia (0.342), , Italy (0.36),  Japan (0.249), Mexico (0461),  Russia (0.399),  South Africa (0.578),  South Korea (0.316), Turkey (0.43), the United Kingdom (0.36),  and the United States of America (0.408) [2007 UNDP Report].
Especially for India, China and Brazil, the gap between the rich and the poor is increasing at an alarming rate. According to the UN Human Development Report (( http://hdr.undp.org), the Gini index has been increasing in most places throughout the world. Between 1991 and 2004, the Gini index in China went up from 0.36 to 0.47. In India, it rose from 0.34 to 0.37.  In the United States it also increased from 0.43 to 0.46 during that same time period. In Brazil, for the two largest cities of Sau Paulo and Rio de Jeneiro, the Gini index has risen to 0.6. In Brazil the richest 20% receives 30 times more than the poorest 20%.
According to an Asian Development Bank report published in August 2007, economic inequality in China and India, now nears the levels of Latin America, a region long characterized by high inequality. In 2003, for rural India the Gini coefficient of land distribution was 0.74 and the corresponding figure for China was 0.49 for 2002. According to the 2006 World Development report, for India, the Gini coefficient of distribution of adult schooling for 2000 was 0.56, which is not only higher than China (0.37) but also all Latin American countries. If these economic  inequities are left unchecked, the present global financial recession will further widen  the existing rural-urban gap, and thus will lead to mushrooming of slums and shanty towns like Dharavis (India), Favelas (Brazil), “Villages inside cities” (China), and in other G-20 countries.


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