Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Putting Asia’s Gini back in its bottle

In a world driven by unstoppable technological progress and relentless globalization, we must consider whether income inequality really matters more than equality of opportunity. Answering that question will help Asia’s people gain a better understanding of themselves – and the development challenges that they face.

http://www.project-syndicate.org/online-commentary/the-misplaced-focus-on-asia-s-income-inequality-by-curtis-s–chin#DKIoYpbYLT5MUKGV.99

Is it even possible to separate the two?

I think that inequality and equality of opportunity are intrinsically linked.  Data shows that in places with high levels of inequality, the poor are more likely to stay poor while the rich get richer.  As inequality rises, there tend to be fewer opportunities for people to climb the economic ladder.

It would interesting, however, to see an example of a place with opportunity equality despite economic inequality.  Isn’t that the basic argument behind capitalism?  If the government doesn’t interfere with the market, anyone can succeed if he or she works hard enough?

Unfortunately that’s not how capitalism actually plays out.  Too bad… it’s a good theory.

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