Read pages 78-79
Define the Gini Index
Which countries (on the graph) are ranked highest on the Gini Index?
Which countries are ranked lowest?
What factors contribute to the different ranks of different nations on the index?
Assignment should be 2 full paragraphs
Table 3-6 ■ Gini Index for Selected Countries Country Gini Index United States 38 Australia 34 Italy 34 United Kingdom 34 Japan 33 Canada 32 Korea 32 Germany 30 France 29 Netherlands 29 Sweden 26 Norway 25 Source: Data taken from Gini Index for Selected Countries, OECD 2011. “Society at a
In addition, most have little or no paid vacation and many do not even have paid (or unpaid) sick days. And, perhaps of greatest importance, the large majority of U.S. workers must depend on their job for health insurance. With a very low rate of unionization, most American workers work at the will of their employers, with little or no legal recourse to decisions made by those employers. Similar conditions of work are found in no other advanced econo- mies (Freeman, 2007; Gautié and Schmitt, 2009; Ray et al., 2009; Schmitt, 2009). A number of studies have also shown that there is a much larger income gap between managers and workers in the United States than in any other highly industrialized country. And that gap has grown enormously in the last several decades. In 1965, the typical CEO made 20 times more than the average worker; in 2011, the typical CEO made 231 times more. This means that a CEO earned in one workday more than the average worker earned in an entire year (Mishel et al., 2009; Mishel and Sabadish, 2012). Also, CEOs’ wages are vastly higher in the United States than in other developed societies (Gordon and Dew-Becker, 2008; Mishel et al., 2009; Noah, 2012). Comparative Wealth The global distribution of wealth mirrors the U.S. distribution. The richest 10 percent of the world’s population owns more than 85 percent of the world’s wealth; the top 1 percent alone has 40 percent. By contrast, the bottom half of the world’s population owns no more than 1 percent of global wealth. Moreover, not surprisingly, most of the world’s wealth is concentrated in the highly developed countries, that is, nations of North America and Europe, and a few in Asia (Davies et al., 2008). Table 3-7 shows that fully half of the world’s wealth is found in just two countries, the United States and Japan, despite the fact that they contain less than 10 percent of the world’s population. Data indicate, however, that wealth inequality in the United States is more extreme than in any other advanced industrial society. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the United States, notes Kevin Phillips, “was not only the world’s wealthiest nation and leading economic power, but also the Western industrial nation with the greatest percentage of the world’s rich and the greatest gap between rich and poor” (2002:4). After making comparisons with other Western societies, Edward Wolff similarly concludes that “the U.S. con- tinues to remain today the most unequal country in terms of wealth” (2002:36). The share of wealth held by the top 1 percent in Canada and Sweden, for example, is about half of what it is in the United States, and in Japan and France, the share is about two-thirds of the U.S. rate. In Table 3-7, notice the significantly higher Gini index for wealth in the United States compared to the other countries, each with more than 1 percent of global wealth.