Q: Is the world more equal now than it was 500 years ago?
05.03.2009 | 03:06 Uhr | Alter: 10 Jahre

A (Immanuel Wallerstein): No. People who argue that look at the top 20% of the world population in terms of real income, it is true that they’re doing a lot  better than previous generations. But if you look, as I do, at the differences between the top 1%, the 19% below that and the remaining 80% at a world level, you get a different picture. Since, for example, 60% of the Swiss population belongs to the top 20%, it is true that Switzerland is a more egalitarian country than it was a hundred years ago. But worldwide, it’s quite the opposite: the gap has grown enormously between the top 20% and the bottom 80%, and is continuing to grow.

It is also true that the gap between the top 1% and the next 19% was going down for a while. But one of the things neoliberalism did, and intended to do, was to restore the gap between the 1% and the 19% below it. That’s what electorates in the West (where most of this 19% live) are complaining about these days - that their real incomes are going down while this top 1% is getting filthy rich.



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