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It seems clear that globalisation has coincided with and probably caused increased inequality within the US, but has it decreased inequality within the global system - i.e. by enabling China/India and their workers to move up the food chain?
It isn't workers that benefit from this the most.
Remember that while the relative distance between China and India and the developing world is closing, inside of India and China, inequality between rich and poor is rapidly increasing. I know more about China than India. To give an example in 1980, China's gini coefficient was in the 20s, it was similar to the Scandinavian countries. Now it's in the upper 40s, and it approaching Latin American levels. India, I don't have stats for.
So what we are witnessing is the growth of inequality within nations, at the same time that inequality between them is shrinking. (And don't forget that Africa is falling ever further behind.)
So there is no birth of a global middle class. Instead there is the segregation of the world into rich and poor. The difference is that this class system is no longer quite so color coded......
And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
However the clearest correlation appears to be between a high degree of correlation between democratic political development and lower inequality as it takes strong governance answerable to the greatest number for income redistribution to be enforced through the state.
As capital is a lot more mobile than people it is natural for capital to gravitate to areas of lowest re-distribution - e.g. tax shelters and trading hubs such as Singapore - thus giving the appearance of a correlation between aggregate wealth and low regulation/re-distribution.
Only a system of global re-distribution/governance can prevent capital flows from systematically reinforcing inequality.
notes from no w here
That is, after all, what was in effect during the 1950's and 1960's, when persistent systematic declines in national income inequality was far more common than today.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
And besides, any company with a turnover equivalent to the GDP of a moderately sized African republic needs to be either nationalised, broken into itty bitty pieces or taken out behind the woodshed and shot. To prevent it from buying politicians like they were toy cars, for no other reason.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
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