Branko Milanovic– Global Income Inequality
He is an economist with the world bank
Looks at income distributions within nations, between nations, and globally. Gini curves and things like that.
The poorest in the US are in the upper 62% worldwide
Brazil spans the range, their poorest are as poor as anyone on earth (bottom 2%), while their richest are as rich as anyone on earth.
Social mobility is more common in countries with less income inequalities.
The central american countries have equal income distributions, while Asian countries do not.
Where you are born is a stronger determinant than your social class.
Ok, and some points he forgets to mention. The world has more weath today than ever before (by today meaning the last 15 years, today today seems a bit down from a year ago). So of course there is more room for inequality. In a substinance agricultural society, it is really really hard to get more than a 5:1 income range, since the level of economic production is so limited.
Also, no discussion on wether poor today is better than middle income 100 years ago.
But an interesting comment from the audience, that in extreme rural villiages (like 1 week walk from anywhere else) people are happy and don’t think they are poor, even though they are not far above the substinance level. Relative to what they know, they are doing well.
This principle of course extends, and, while he did not mention it, many other have said that this awareness is some of what lay behind the Arab Spring.