UPSC Exam   »   The Editorial Analysis: What rising inequality...

The Editorial Analysis: What rising inequality means


Rising inequality: Relevance

  • GS 1: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.


Rising inequality: Context

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the stark divide between the rich and the poor. Inequality in our country can be seen from the following facts.
  • Top 10% of the global population share 52% of the total income, while the bottom half survives with a mere 8.5% of it.
  • In terms of wealth, the top 10% of the global population own 76% of the total wealth, while the bottom 50% share a mere 2%.


Inequality around the world

  • The top 10% have an income share of 36% in Europe vis-à-vis the top 10% with a share of 58% of the total income in West Asia and North Africa. It means inequality is moderate in Europe and sharp in Africa.
  • There is a theory that with increase in national income, inequality increases. This theory, however, does not hold true in many cases.
  • For example, high-income countries such as the U.S. have higher levels of inequality as against countries such as Sweden, which have moderate levels of inequality.
  • Similar contradictions are also seen when we contrast middle-income nations such as Brazil, India and China as against Malaysia and Uruguay.
  • So, it can be said that inequalities around the world are less due to rise in the average income and more due to the poor redistributive policies.


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What rising inequalities means

  • Wealth concentration and rising inequality is making nations wealthier but government poorer. It is because resources are limited that are gradually moving into private hands.
  • The scenario is undoubtedly an outcome of the ineffectiveness of redistribution measures and also a complete absence of measures that discourage accumulation.
  • Some additional features of this exposition of inequality also relate to imbalance of women’s share in income.
  • It also shows the ecological inequities indicated by the differential carbon emission levels.


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