Inequality - Oxfam Blogs

Report
Inequality: Why Does it Matter; How
Does it Differ to Focussing on Poverty?
Duncan Green
Oxfam GB
Ambedkar University
November 2013
What do we mean by Poverty?
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Absolute v Relative income
Multidimensional – narrow (eg Human
Development Index)
Asking Poor People (Voices of the Poor)
Well/ Ill being
Static v Dynamic – fear of tomorrow
What’s happening to income poverty?
What do we mean by inequality?
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Income
– Opportunity: soft and hard versions
– Outcomes
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Multidimensional inequality
Vertical v Horizontal (spatial)
Intergenerational (temporal)
Measurement: Gini v deciles
Power
Inequality is a rising concern
Shared by just about everybody
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IMF links to major financial crises (rich
elites recycling $) and social cohesion
World Bank highlights how much harder
it is to end poverty in unequal countries
(eg South Africa)
Stiglitz linking to political capture and
positive feedback loops from influence
Planetary boundaries and the finite cake
Behavioural economics and link to wellbeing
What’s happening to global income
inequality?
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Global Gini improving due to rise of
BRICS
Global extremes getting worse
100 richest people = 4x poorest 1.4bn
Gini within countries mixed
Deteriorating in all but 4 G20 countries
But improving in many non-G20
countries, eg in Latin America
Globally, it’s the 2%
G20 doing badly
And good and bad performers
converging
Brazil v the RICS
Brazil’s success story on inequality
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Over last decade, incomes of the
poorest Brazilians have risen more than
x5 faster than those of the richest
Hunger ‘largely dealt with’
Cf New Deal or post War UK
Women > men
Blacks > whites
Northeast > Southeast
Cutting inequality needs much more
than social protection
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Rights-based constitution
Centre-left government
Full employment
Rising minimum wage, universal pension
An integrated and effective public
administration
A high level of public participation
Political and economic stability
Gabriel Palma the most interesting
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Deciles tell you more than Gini
(Convergence)
In all countries, deciles 5-9 have (and
keep) about 50% of wealth
Rest is up for grabs between top 10%
and bottom 40%
Key political question is whether middle
class allies with top or bottom
What might an NGO inequality agenda
look like?
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Structures matter (oil v jobs)
Taxation – quantity and quality
Ceilings v floors (eg land)
Redistribution > income (eg tertiary ed =
16% social spending in Brazil)
More on attitudes and beliefs: gender,
but also caste, ethnicity, children,
disability
Focus on inequality between or within
countries?
Oxfam India on Inequality
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Income
Missing Jobs, Low Wages and
Discrimination
Education & Health
Public v Private
To Have or Not a Toilet
About Networks and Chances
Rents and Redistribution
Thanks!

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