Thursday, June 3, 2010

Expect More Inequality But Less Poverty?

Not very many Americans seem to be bothered by the growing inequality of wealth in the United States. This is partly because logically there doesn't seem to be a reason why some people might not have been more productive or more creative than others. It would not seem to be fair to set a maximum limit on how much a person can make, and it's hard to see why there would be any physical limit.

At the same time, if this idea is extended globally, then that implies that Americans and the developed world might always be more wealthy than developing nations. But one of the arguments for globalization is that developing nations will develop and the standard of living will improve for everyone even if GDP per capita continues to be higher in developed nations. The mental image of a nation like China once it has developed, though, is that the citizens' standard of living will eventually equal the standard of living of Americans. Is there a contradiction? People usually think of South Korea or Japan as developing nations that successfully became developed nations. Some food for thought.

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