1. The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy

America – Inequality | The Atlantic | May 16th, 2018

You’re probably part of the problem. The Aristocracy Is Dead …For about a week every year in my childhood, I was a member of one of America’s fading aristocracies. Sometimes around Christmas, more often on the Fourth of July, my family would take up residence at one of my grandparents’ country clubs in Chicago, Palm Beach, or Asheville, North Carolina. The breakfast buffets were magnificent, and Grandfather was a jovial host, always ready with a familiar story, rarely missing an opportunity for gentle instruction on proper club etiquette. (13600 words)

2. Why the ‘one percent’ in the US is worried

America – Inequality | Aljazeera | May 5th, 2019

Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates hedge fund who is ranked 57th wealthiest person in the world by Forbes magazine, quipped in a recent interview that capitalism is denying “equal opportunity for the American dream”. He said that he was “a byproduct of capitalism when it also gave equal opportunity”, adding “I was very lucky to live the American dream by having the proper care and the proper public school education … A number of things have changed.” Former Starbucks CEO and prospective presidential candidate Howard Schultz, who prefers to be called a “person of means” rather than a billionaire (ranked 617th by Forbes), recently observed that “the vast majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck” and declared that the next US president must urgently address inequality. (1100 words)

3. Activism in the art world: meet the next generation of radical curators

Art – Inequality | The Guardian | April 11th, 2018

We live in the age of zeitgeist movements like #OscarsSoWhite and #Metoo, of millions thrumming the streets in support of the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives. Curatorial activism is the art world’s equivalent. “It’s the practice of organising art exhibitions with the principal aim of ensuring that large constituencies of people are no longer ghettoised or excluded from the master narratives of art,” says curator Maura Reilly. Its mission is to get the art world to understand that issues of gender, race and sexuality require urgent attention. (900 words)

4. Artworks for sale online: it’s a booming way to gatecrash the elite gallery world

Art – Inequality | The Guardian | May 10th, 2014

Yet one form of art has now found a way through – perhaps even a way to thrive – and provide careers for artists of the future. The visual arts are booming online. This is the claim of a growing number of virtual art galleries, backed this spring by an annual survey of the fine art market. The survey shows the value of the online trade is now around £1.57bn and is likely to more than double by 2018. Experienced art collectors and newcomers are both increasingly using websites to find original contemporary works and ordering them for delivery like furniture. (1100 words)

5. Is it OK to make art?

Art – Inequality | Aeon | March 20th, 2017

Holly Morgan was the managing director for The Life You Can Save, an organisation that encourages privileged Westerners to help reduce global poverty. Sam Hilton had organised the London pub meet-up where I’d first heard about the movement (known as ‘EA’ for short; its members are EAs). The pair of them were heading to East Devon with a few others for a cottage retreat, where they were going to relax among sheep and alpacas, visit a ruined abbey, and get some altruism-related writing done. I decided to join them because I liked the idea of finishing my script (a very dark comedy) in the idyllic English countryside, and because I wanted to learn more about the EA goal of doing as much good as you possibly can with your life. (3200 words)

6. Billionaires are storing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of art on superyachts

Art – Inequality | Vox | February 4th, 2019

Is a yacht a good financial investment? (Usually not.) Will a group of class-warfare-waging rascals untie the boat from its dock, causing thousands of dollars in damage? (If you’re Betsy DeVos, yes.) And then there’s the latest concern plaguing superyacht owners: Is a yacht really a good place to store an art collection, which is worth more than the yacht itself? A growing number of billionaires — at least three, which is a lot since there are currently only 2,208 billionaires in the world — are finding that storing art on superyachts comes with its own set of problems, according to a new report by the Guardian. (1000 words)

7. Wondering why British politics is in such a mess? Oxford offers a clue

Brexit – Inequality | The Straits Times | December 23th, 2018

It was a fair comment. Every story had featured (or been reported by) at least one contemporary of mine from Oxford. Most of them had been moulded by the exact same degree: philosophy, politics and economics – or PPE. This is not the standard rant against the United Kingdom’s rancid class system. The Oxonians running the country are as influential on the left as the right, and many come from humble social backgrounds. Rather, the issue is that Britain has somehow subcontracted the task of selecting its leaders to the University of Oxford’s PPE faculty. (1300 words)

8. Does Inequality Cause Crime?

Crime – Inequality | The Atlantic | October 23rd, 2014

In 1899, Thorstein Veblen described a type of good that is more lusted after the more expensive it is (think Ferraris). And in 1968, the economist Gary S. Becker theorized that criminals perform cost-benefit analyses just like everyone else: What are the odds of getting caught, and what’s the potential payoff? These two frameworks have lived out vibrant lives in academic journals, high-school textbooks, and college lecture halls, but, as they’re ostensibly unrelated, they’ve rarely been put in conversation with one another.A study put out this month in Oxford Economic Papers does just that, in an effort to come up with a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between inequality and violence. (600 words)

9. The rising cost of education and health care is less troubling than believed

Economics – Inequality | The Economist | June 20th, 2019

Once upon a time a ticket to the cinema cost just five quid, and a hogshead of mead but a farthing. Of course, savvier youths know how to debunk such tales. Adjust for inflation and many things are cheaper than ever. Since 1950 the real cost of new vehicles has fallen by half, that of new clothing by 75% and that of household appliances by 90%, even as quality has got better. Tumbling prices reflect decades of improvements in technology and productivity. But the effect is not economy-wide. Cars are cheaper, but car maintenance is more expensive, and costs in education and health care have risen roughly fivefold since 1950. (900 words)

10. Engines of democracy

Education – Inequality | Aeon

In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, some educational institutions play a further role – they educate the elite. All of the current Supreme Court Justices in the US attended either Harvard University or Yale Law School. In the UK, 41 out of 54 of the country’s past prime ministers received their education at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. Seven recent French presidents and 12 prime ministers attended the Paris Institute of Political Studies, commonly called Sciences Po. (3100 words)

11. They Had It Coming

Education – Inequality | The Atlantic | April 4th, 2019

ET on April 9, 2018.Sweet Christ, vindication!How long has it been? Years? No, decades. If hope is the thing with feathers, I was a plucked bird. Long ago, I surrendered myself to the fact that the horrible, horrible private-school parents of Los Angeles would get away with their nastiness forever. But even before the molting, never in my wildest imaginings had I dared to dream that the arc of the moral universe could describe a 90-degree angle and smite down mine enemies with such a hammer fist of fire and fury that even I have had a moment of thinking, Could this be a bit too much?To hear more feature stories, see our full list or get the Audm iPhone app. (6200 words)

12. Denmark Isn’t Magic

Education – Inequality | The Atlantic | August 2th, 2016

Danophilia is alive and well in America. Bernie Sanders and other liberals have lauded Denmark’s social democratic dream state, with its free college tuition, nearly universal pre-K, and plentiful child care. While Republicans and Democrats both praise the virtues of what economists call “intergenerational mobility”—the chance for a poor young child to become at least a middle-class adult—America doesn’t lead the world in the pursuit of the American Dream. The standard social mobility statistic measures how much each generation’s income is determined by its parents’ income. (1200 words)

13. Facebook’s ad system seems to discriminate by race and gender

Facebook – Inequality | The Economist | April 4th, 2019

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said this violated the Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination against certain “protected” groups.Facebook has tried to clean up its act, shutting down tools which allowed advertisers to aim at Facebook users based on age, gender, and zip code. HUD is seeking “appropriate relief” for Facebook’s past actions nonetheless. HUD’s lawsuit also accused Facebook itself of discrimination against minorities through the algorithms it uses to run its advertising business. (1100 words)

14. As a system, foreign aid is a fraud and does nothing for inequality

Foreign Aid – Inequality | The Guardian | September 1st, 2018

Theresa May breaks into dance during a meeting with scouts in Nairobi last week. One might imagine, then, that these countries are among the top recipients of UK aid. Wrong. The main beneficiaries are, in fact, Pakistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Not one of the five poorest countries is among the top 10 recipients of British aid. Last week, during her tour of Africa, Theresa May proclaimed that, in the post-Brexit world, Britain’s aid budget would be used to promote British trade and political interests. (800 words)

15. Getting the inequality we want

GP – Inequality | TODAY

Media outlets publish article after article on the topic. Politicians include it in their speeches and platforms. Yet, even though economists like Thomas Piketty and Joseph E Stiglitz have proved, through meticulous research, the causal link between inequality and policy choices, politicians have yet to establish what level of inequality they consider ideal. Eliminating inequality, after all, is not the point. Too much inequality impedes social mobility, thereby potentially stoking political instability; as Stiglitz has often pointed out, it also tends to lead to weaker economic performance. (700 words)

16. How entitled parents hurt schools

GP – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 28th, 2018

Educators, at times, complain bitterly about them, and many policies have been designed to address these issues. With economic segregation in the United States worsening, there is likely to be a growing number of school districts where poor children, and poor parents, predominate. Yet, economic segregation, which is more pronounced among families with children, also creates public school districts where affluent families predominate. This can lead to trouble in schools, but of a distinct kind. Motivated by a fierce desire to protect their children and themselves from difficulty, and armed with a robust sense of entitlement as well as ample economic, cultural and social resources, affluent parents can create conflict and interfere with school districts on a scale that is rarely acknowledged. (1200 words)

17. Britain is still a world-beater at one thing: ripping off its own citizens

GP – Inequality | The Guardian | August 3rd, 2017

The one that has dogged us ever since the EU referendum and haunts every Brexiteer’s chlorinated daydreams. What is Britain for? Cliche-mongers will tell you that Britain lost an empire then couldn’t find a role. They are wrong. After careful study of recent newspaper articles, I have discovered just that new part – and today, dear reader, I am going to share it with you. The British are now world-beaters at paying other people to rip them off. We are number one at handing over cash to “investors” who do no investing, to “entrepreneurs” who run monopolies – and who then turn around and tap us up for a bit more on the way out. (1100 words)

18. Capitalism Will Shrink Inequality. In Fact, It’s Happening.

GP – Inequality | Bloomberg | March 23rd, 2017

The mid-20th-century economist Simon Kuznets believed that at first, industrialization would lead to greater inequality as a few pioneering entrepreneurs and workers moved to the cities where the growth was happening. But as rural areas emptied out and the economy matured, he said, inequality would fall. This prediction contradicted Marxist ideas, which envisioned a capitalist class steadily immiserating the workers of the world. The solution to the problems of capitalist growth, Kuznets asserted, was more capitalist growth.QuickTake Income InequalityRecently, many developing countries have been moving along the path of economic enrichment once trodden by the developed world. (800 words)

19. Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now

GP – Inequality | Aeon

In Veblen’s now famous treatise The Theory of the Leisure Class, he coined the phrase ‘conspicuous consumption’ to denote the way that material objects were paraded as indicators of social position and status. More than 100 years later, conspicuous consumption is still part of the contemporary capitalist landscape, and yet today, luxury goods are significantly more accessible than in Veblen’s time. This deluge of accessible luxury is a function of the mass-production economy of the 20th century, the outsourcing of production to China, and the cultivation of emerging markets where labour and materials are cheap. (1100 words)

20. Economic Scene; When it comes to income inequality, more than just market forces are at work.

GP – Inequality | New York Times | April 4th, 2002

”New research that updates and extends this classic work, however, turns the Kuznets curve on its head.Income disparities seem to follow no automatic pattern. Instead, for long stretches the degree of inequality appears to result from norms and social policy, especially taxes, at least as much as from economic forces of supply and demand. In the United States, the Kuznets curve — the trend in inequality over time — is better described by a U shape than an inverted U. In Britain and France, the curve is more like an L.As Gary Fields of Cornell observed: ”The Kuznets curve is neither a law nor even a central tendency. (1100 words)

21. Google’s ‘Dutch Sandwich’ Shielded 16 Billion Euros From Tax

GP – Inequality | Bloomberg | January 2nd, 2018

The setup involves shifting revenue from one Irish subsidiary to a Dutch company with no employees, and then on to a Bermuda mailbox owned by another Ireland-registered company.The amount of money Google moved through this tax structure in 2016 was 7 percent higher than the year before, according to company filings with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce dated Dec. 22 and which were made available online Tuesday. News of the filings was first reported by the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad. “We pay all of the taxes due and comply with the tax laws in every country we operate in around the world,” a Google spokesman said in a statement. (700 words)

22. How New York’s wealthy parents try to raise ‘unentitled’ kids

GP – Inequality | Aeon | February 21st, 2018

They can offer their kids the healthiest foods, the most attentive caregivers, the best teachers and the most enriching experiences, from international vacations to unpaid internships in competitive fields.Yet these parents have a problem: how to give their kids these advantages while also setting limits. Almost all of the 50 affluent parents in and around New York City that I interviewed for my book Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence (2017), expressed fears that children would be ‘entitled’ – a dirty word that meant, variously, lazy, materialistic, greedy, rude, selfish and self-satisfied. (1300 words)

23. Inequality is not inevitable, it’s a policy choice. For proof, look at Namibia

GP – Inequality | The Guardian | July 19th, 2017

As our new index shows, some countries are taking steps to reduce inequalityWindhoek, Namibia: since independence, the country’s poverty rate has been reduced from 53% to 23%. For many people, this is accompanied by a feeling of despair that such huge divides cannot be bridged; that the inequality crisis we face, which keeps millions of people trapped in poverty, is simply too big for us to change. This sense of fatalism is fuelled by arguments that current levels of inequality are due to the seemingly immutable forces of globalisation or technological change. (1100 words)

24. It Is Expensive to Be Poor

GP – Inequality | The Atlantic | May 7th, 2018

He announced a War on Poverty, saying that its “chief weapons” would be “better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better training, and better job opportunities.”So starting in 1964 and for almost a decade, the federal government poured at least some of its resources in the direction they should have been going all along: toward those who were most in need. Longstanding programs like Head Start, Legal Services, and the Job Corps were created. Medicaid was established. Poverty among seniors was significantly reduced by improvements in Social Security.Johnson seemed to have established the principle that it is the responsibility of government to intervene on behalf of the disadvantaged and deprived. (1200 words)

25. Jeff Bezos’s $150 Billion Fortune Is a Policy Failure

GP – Inequality | The Atlantic | August 1st, 2018

That is the biggest nominal amount in modern history, and extraordinary any way you slice it. Bezos is the world’s lone hectobillionaire. He is worth what the average American family is, nearly two million times over. He has about 50 percent more money than Bill Gates, twice as much as Mark Zuckerberg, 50 times as much as Oprah, and perhaps 100 times as much as President Trump. (Who knows!) He has gotten $50 billion richer in less than a year. He needs to spend roughly $28 million a day just to keep from accumulating more wealth.This is a credit to Bezos’s ingenuity and his business acumen. (1700 words)

26. Less Economic Freedom Equals More Income Inequality

GP – Inequality | Reason Magazine | February 20th, 2015

In 2013, President Barack Obama declared that “a dangerous and growing inequality” is the “defining challenge of our time.” On 60 Minutes last month, Speaker of the House John Boehner argued that “the president’s policies have made income inequality worse.” Senator Mike Lee of Utah has said that “the United States is beset by a crisis in inequality” and that “bigger government is not the solution to unequal opportunity—it’s the cause.” In his 2013 speech, Obama also said, “We need to set aside the belief that government cannot do anything about reducing inequality.” (1100 words)

27. Let’s wrench power back from the billionaires

GP – Inequality | The Guardian | January 14th, 2018

Difficult as it is to comprehend, the fact is that the six richest people on Earth now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – 3.7 billion people. Further, the top 1% now have more money than the bottom 99%. Meanwhile, as the billionaires flaunt their opulence, nearly one in seven people struggle to survive on less than $1.25 (90p) a day and – horrifyingly – some 29,000 children die daily from entirely preventable causes such as diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia. At the same time, all over the world corrupt elites, oligarchs and anachronistic monarchies spend billions on the most absurd extravagances. (1200 words)

28. No CEO should earn 1,000 times more than a regular employee

GP – Inequality | The Guardian | March 18th, 2018

In other words, one of Marathon’s gas station workers would have to toil more than nine centuries to make as much as Heminger grabbed in just one year. Employees of at least five other US firms would have to work even longer – more than a millennium – to catch up with their top bosses. These companies include the auto parts maker Aptiv (CEO-worker pay ratio: 2,526 to 1), the temp agency Manpower (2,483 to 1), amusement park owner Six Flags (1,920 to 1), Del Monte Produce (1,465 to 1), and apparel maker VF (1,353 to 1). (800 words)

29. Stop Denigrating Work – It’s the Best Route out of Poverty

GP – Inequality | Cato Institute | July 25th, 2017

According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reporton UK poverty published in March, a whopping 81 per cent of thoseindividuals in households with income of less than 60 per cent ofthe national median are white. Individuals of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin, on this metric,do far better: making up just 5.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent of thein-poverty population. What we really need then, is to have ourgovernment start prioritising reducing white poverty. I suspect most of you detect something fishy in the abovestatistical statements. (800 words)

30. Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich

GP – Inequality | New York Times | June 12th, 2017

It is no secret that how you talk matters a lot in a class-saturated society like the United Kingdom. Peterborough, our increasingly diverse hometown, was prosperous enough, but not upscale. Six in 10 of the city’s residents voted for Brexit — a useful inverse poshness indicator. (In Thursday’s general election, Peterborough returned a Labour MP for the first time since 2001. )Our mother, from a rural working-class background herself, wanted us to be able to rise up the class ladder, unencumbered by the wrong accent. (1400 words)

31. The higher the inequality, the more likely we are to move away from democracy

GP – Inequality | The Guardian | May 2nd, 2017

Inequality is high in Latin America and perpetuates across generations. There are three reasons. First, every inequality in the treatment or position of individuals – including inequality in income and wealth – requires understanding and justification, because we are all fundamentally the same. That does not mean we should all have the same incomes because our effort and luck may vary, but we need to think about the reasons for any and every inequality. For example, we can adopt Rawls’ perspective – that inequality can be justified only if it is in the interest of the least well-off (that is, so long as it raises the absolute income of the poorest). (800 words)

32. The other half

GP – Inequality | Aeon | September 24th, 2017

Where once institutions such as the World Bank and charities like Oxfam described their goal as simply ‘ending poverty’, today they tend to frame things in terms of poverty and inequality. Well, that makes sense: doesn’t it seem intuitively obvious that these two things must be connected in some way?Yet those links can be surprisingly hard to bring into focus. In 15 years of working in the development sector – first for international NGOs and more recently running a research programme on poverty and inequality – I have found myself explaining over and over again exactly what the one has to do with the other. (2200 words)

33. Tired of capitalism? There could be a better way.

GP – Inequality | Washington Post | September 30th, 2015

This week we’re talking about universal basic income. Need a primer? Catch up here. Matt Bruenig is researcher of poverty and welfare systems at the think tank Demos. Capitalism is a coercive economic system that creates persistent patterns of economic deprivation. Governments have typically dealt with capitalism’s more misery-inducing tendencies by creating institutions of labor protection — such as the right to organize unions — and by building out modern welfare states. Although these policy programs have been fairly successful, especially in the countries that have pushed them the furthest, they have not fully eliminated coercion and deprivation. (800 words)

34. We lost sight of fairness in the false promise of wealth

GP – Inequality | The Guardian | August 30th, 2010

Growth figures tell it differentlyAs Nick Clegg fends off accusations of selling out and Labour leadership candidates set out their stall, debates about inequality show no sign of going away. But the moral arguments are rarely extended far enough, and virtually no politician challenges a basic, erroneous premise that inequality is a price worth paying for a more efficient market system that enriches us all. The simplistic, free-market view of the Thatcher-Major era said equality of opportunity is all we need for a fair society. (800 words)

35. What kind of society tries to make its beggars invisible? Ours does

GP – Inequality | The Guardian | January 11th, 2018

Vox pops are made of this, and predictably passersby cornered for news bulletins offer a mixed response: some say the begging on the streets led them to avoid the city centre; some were angered at the lack of empathy for people in such a dire position; others simply haven’t noticed a street homelessness problem. Wider public opinion has been surprised at the idea of a ban, but as time passes the notion is becoming less surprising and Newport, my home town, is far from unique. The council has powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 that allow town halls to enact public space protection orders (PSPOs), banning certain behaviours in specified areas. (1100 words)

36. Why Amartya Sen remains the century’s great critic of capitalism

GP – Inequality | Aeon | February 27th, 2018

First, there is the moral or spiritual critique. This critique rejects Homo economicus as the organising heuristic of human affairs. Human beings, it says, need more than material things to prosper. Calculating power is only a small part of what makes us who we are. Moral and spiritual relationships are first-order concerns. Material fixes such as a universal basic income will make no difference to societies in which the basic relationships are felt to be unjust. Then there is the material critique of capitalism. (1100 words)

37. Why Living in a Poor Neighborhood Can Change Your Biology

GP – Inequality | Nautilus | June 14th, 2018

And one of the most surprising. In 1994, HUD randomly assigned 4,600 poor, mostly African-American families in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York to one of three groups. One group received housing vouchers intended to help them move to low-poverty neighborhoods. Another group received vouchers without geographic restrictions. A final control group didn’t receive vouchers at all. Called “Moving to Opportunity,” the study was designed to answer a question that had divided social scientists and policymakers for decades: Did getting people off of welfare and other forms of social assistance depend on changing their social context? (2100 words)

38. Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test

GP – Inequality | The Atlantic | June 1st, 2018

Whether she’s patient enough to double her payout is supposedly indicative of a willpower that will pay dividends down the line, at school and eventually at work. Passing the test is, to many, a promising signal of future success.But a new study, published last week, has cast the whole concept into doubt. The researchers—NYU’s Tyler Watts and UC Irvine’s Greg Duncan and Hoanan Quan—restaged the classic marshmallow test, which was developed by the Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel in the 1960s. (1000 words)

39. Why all things are not equal in the measure of inequality

GP – Inequality | Financial Times

JK Rowling sells more books. Katy Perry has more Twitter followers. Usain Bolt is faster. And I can only presume that Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, reportedly “the happiest man alive”, is more cheerful. The world is an unequal place.Exactly how unequal, though, depends on what we measure and how we measure it. Researchers concerned about the concentration of money in the hands of a small number of people tend to focus on the income or wealth share of high earners. In the US, the income share of the top 1 per cent has soared from 11 per cent in 1980 to 20 per cent in 2016, according to the World Inequality Report 2018. (900 words)

40. A husband or a degree? India’s teenage girls struggle with urban aspirations

Gender – Inequality | Financial Times | October 11th, 2017

They insisted on sitting together on a school bench meant for two, with Aafreen wedged in the middle. Aafreen brought in a lipstick that they applied when their teacher wasn’t watching. When Bushra came in wearing heavy kajal eyeliner, Jyoti laughed and said she looked like a witch. They shared their lunches and planned their futures: Aafreen and Jyoti were thinking about becoming teachers and Bushra wanted to be a doctor.This July, near the end of the summer holidays after 10th grade, Aafreen, who is now 17, went to the school to register for classes for the next year. (1900 words)

41. Let Women Rule

Gender – Inequality | Foreign Affairs | May 1th, 2007

In recent interviews with hundreds of female leaders in over 30 countries, I have discovered that where women have taken leadership roles, it has been as social reformers and entrepreneurs, not as politicians or government officials. This is unfortunate, because the world needs women’s perspectives and particular talents in top positions. In 1998, Francis Fukuyama wrote in Foreign Affairs that women’s political leadership would bring about a more cooperative and less conflict-prone world (“Women and the Evolution of World Politics,” September/October 1998). (3800 words)

42. Let Women Work

Gender – Inequality | Foreign Affairs | December 12th, 2017

The ban’s removal has been rightly hailed as a victory in a country that systematically limits women’s freedoms. But for Saudi officials, this policy reversal has more to do with economics than concern for women’s rights. In recent years, even culturally conservative countries such as the Gulf kingdom have begun to recognize that they cannot get ahead if they leave half of their human capital behind.Women’s advocates have long championed gender parity as a moral issue. But in the modern global economy, eliminating obstacles to women’s economic participation is also a strategic imperative. (2300 words)

43. The Payoff From Women’s Rights

Gender – Inequality | Foreign Affairs | May 1th, 2004

Focusing on women is often the best way to reduce birth rates and child mortality; improve health, nutrition, and education; stem the spread of HIV/AIDS; build robust and self-sustaining community organizations; and encourage grassroots democracy.Much like human rights a generation ago, women’s rights were long considered too controversial for mainstream foreign policy. For decades, international development agencies skirted gender issues in highly patriarchal societies. Now, however, they increasingly see women’s empowerment as critical to their mandate. (5000 words)

44. The Bill-Melinda Gates romance started with a rejection

Gender – Inequality | The Straits Times | April 26th, 2019

When she was still Melinda French and a young employee working at Microsoft in 1987, Bill Gates flirted with her in the carpark and asked if she would go out with him in two weeks. She turned him down. “That’s not spontaneous enough for me,” she told him. “Ask me out closer to the date.” An hour or two later, Bill Gates phoned her and invited her out for that evening. “Is this spontaneous enough for you?” he asked. And then they lived happily ever after. Actually, not exactly. Melinda Gates has written a smart new memoir, The Moment Of Lift, recounting how she ended up a feminist – and arguing that the American workplace needs a makeover. (800 words)

45. Opinion | A Universally Bad Idea

Inequality – Basic Income | Wall Street Journal

ET Bad ideas just won’t die. Ronald Reagan’s goal was to “leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history.” But they keep coming back, albeit in different forms. Of today’s bad ideas—from net neutrality to open curriculum and living wages—the most dangerous is the universal basic income. For twisted reasons, Silicon Valley, the embodiment of meritocracy and incentives, thinks universal basic income will be the next great economic force. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is helping to fund a UBI pilot program in Stockton, Calif. (900 words)

46. How Big Data Is ‘Automating Inequality’

Inequality – Big Data | New York Times | May 4th, 2018

St. Martin’s Press. $26.99.Upper-middle-class professionals love data. We tend to think that the smug, smart people who run companies like Google and Uber have some secret knowledge; we even give them our personal information, uneasily, but ultimately with a bit of a shrug. We’re seduced by similar smug, smart, supposed innovators hawking data’s potential to revolutionize health care and education. We assume technology and the information it yields is making everyone’s life easier, freer and more comfortable.Virginia Eubanks begs to differ, with the authority to do so. (700 words)

47. Don’t abolish billionaires

Inequality – Billionaires | The Straits Times | February 26th, 2019

Socialists have long held that large stores of private wealth are tantamount to violence against those in need. But regular non-radical folks not on the left are fed up too. Former Starbucks boss Howard Schultz’s potential independent White House bid is simply infuriating, and it’s maddening to feel helplessly tangled in the gilded web of global intrigue emanating from the US President, his plutocrat dictator pals, and America’s retail overlord Jeff Bezos. Thanks at least in part to Mr Bernie Sanders and the sizzling rise of Ms Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this dry wick has met a spark. (1100 words)

48. Brazil’s Antipoverty Breakthrough

Inequality – Brazil | Foreign Affairs | December 14th, 2015

India, for example, has launched massive programs to provide the poor with food and jobs, and the French economist Thomas Piketty has famously proposed a redistributive global wealth tax.But there are big problems with such efforts. Huge, heavily bureaucratic programs such as India’s have proved inefficient and expensive. And the planet’s richest citizens are certain to use all their influence to block any proposals along Piketty’s lines from being implemented.The good news is that these and other radical solutions are also unnecessary. (5100 words)

49. The annoying habits of highly effective people

Inequality – Business | The Economist | September 27th, 2018

Readers are expected to marvel at the stamina of Tim Cook, for example. Apple’s chief executive rises at 3.45am to deal with emails. Spare a thought for his underlings, whose iPhones buzz at 4am every morning. Some subordinates may have the fortitude to sleep through it all; many will be guilt-tripped into answering the boss. Highly effective people often inflict all their idiosyncrasies upon their hapless juniors.Perhaps the aim of admiring biographies and articles is to prompt their readers to emulate the work ethic of such leaders. (800 words)

50. Inequality and Modernization

Inequality – Causes | Foreign Affairs | December 14th, 2015

In 1915, the richest one percent of Americans earned roughly 18 percent of all national income. Their share plum-meted in the 1930s and remained below ten percent through the 1970s, but by 2007, it had risen to 24 percent. Looking at household wealth rather than income, the rise of inequality has been even greater, with the share owned by the top 0.1 percent increasing to 22 percent from nine percent three decades ago. In 2011, the top one percent of U.S. households controlled 40 percent of the nation’s entire wealth. (3200 words)

51. Myths of the 1 Percent: What Puts People at the Top

Inequality – Causes | New York Times | November 17th, 2017

As global billionaires bid up the price of a da Vinci painting on Wednesday, to $450.3 million, Congress debated tax reforms that many analysts said would give the largest benefits to the richest 1 percent of taxpayers.In the United States, the richest 1 percent have seen their share of national income roughly double since 1980, to 20 percent in 2014 from 11 percent. This trend, combined with slow productivity growth, has resulted in stagnant living standards for most Americans.No other nation in the 35-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is as unequal among those with comparable tax data, and none have experienced such a sharp rise in inequality.In Denmark, the share of income going to the top 1 percent rose to 6 percent from just 5 percent. (1200 words)

52. Disney heir on CEO’s $66m pay: ‘No one on the freaking planet is worth that’

Inequality – Ceo Pay | The Guardian | April 27th, 2019

But this week she became a thorn in her famous family’s side when she spoke out against the vast salary of the Walt Disney Company’s chief executive, Bob Iger, and found herself at the center of a debate about inequality and extreme wealth. Disney, 59, made headlines after branding Iger’s near-$66m pay packet “insane”. In an interview with the Guardian, she was unrepentant, describing some of the Walt Disney Company’s financial pledges to employees as “neoliberal claptrap” and calling for Iger to renounce his extraordinary compensation. (1200 words)

53. Opinion | Liberal Hypocrisy in College Admissions?

Inequality – College Admissions | New York Times | October 27th, 2018

Yet here’s our dirty little secret: Some of our most liberal bastions in America rely on a system of inherited privilege that benefits rich whites at the expense of almost everyone else.I’m talking about “legacy preferences” that elite universities give to children of graduates. These universities constitute some of the world’s greatest public goods, but they rig admissions to favor applicants who already have had every privilege in life.A lawsuit against Harvard University has put a focus on admissions policies that the plaintiffs argue hurt Asian-American applicants. (1000 words)

54. Equality and American Democracy

Inequality – Democracy | Foreign Affairs | December 14th, 2015

What has been less evident is a vigorous positive discussion about what equality means and how it might be pursued.Up through the middle of the nineteenth century, Americans saw equality and liberty as mutually reinforcing ideals. Political equality, shored up by economic equality, was the means by which democratic citizens could secure their liberty. The Declaration of Independence treats the equal capacity of human beings to make judgments about their situations and those of their communities as the basis for popular government and identifies the people’s shared right to alter or abolish existing political institutions as the only true security for their freedom. (2900 words)

55. Opinion | Why Is It So Hard for Democracy to Deal With Inequality?

Inequality – Democracy | New York Times | February 15th, 2018

In practice, this is not the case.Over the past few decades, political scientists have advanced a broad range of arguments to explain why democracy has failed to stem the growth of inequality.Most recently, Thomas Piketty, a French economist who is the author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” has come up with a straightforward answer: Traditional parties of the left no longer represent the working and lower middle classes.In a January Power Point presentation, “Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right,” Piketty documents how the domination of the Democratic Party here (and of socialist parties in France) by voters without college or university degrees came to an end over the period from 1948 to 2017. (2000 words)

56. As inequality grows, so does the political influence of the rich

Inequality – Democracy | The Economist | July 21st, 2018

Yet, with few exceptions, today’s populist insurgents are more concerned with immigration and sovereignty than with the top rate of income tax. This disconnect may be more than an oddity. It may be a sign of the corrupting influence of inequality on democracy.You might reasonably suppose that the more democratic a country’s institutions, the less inequality it should support. Rising inequality means that resources are concentrated in the hands of a few; they should be ever more easily outvoted by the majority who are left with a shrinking share of national income.Indeed, some social scientists think that historical expansions of the franchise came as governments sought credible ways to assure voters that resources would be distributed more equitably. (1000 words)

57. Is America becoming an oligarchy?

Inequality – Democracy | The Straits Times | April 16th, 2019

Of course I’m a capitalist, he said; America “is a capitalist society”. But, he continued: “It’s got to be democratic capitalism.” He said that when capitalism becomes unrestrained by democratic checks and impulses, that is no longer the kind of capitalism that once produced broad prosperity in the United States. “If you want to see what happens when you have capitalism without democracy, you can see it very clearly in Russia,” he said. “It turns into crony capitalism, and that turns into oligarchy.” (700 words)

58. The Painful Truth About Affirmative Action

Inequality – Education | The Atlantic | October 2nd, 2012

Why racial preferences in college admissions hurt minority students — and shroud the education system in dishonesty.Affirmative action in university admissions started in the late 1960s as a noble effort to jump-start racial integration and foster equal opportunity. But somewhere along the decades, it has lost its way.Over time, it has become a political lightning rod and one of our most divisive social policies. It has evolved into a regime of racial preferences at almost all selective schools — preferences so strikingly large and politically unpopular that administrators work hard to conceal them. (2000 words)

59. Elite Colleges Constantly Tell Low-Income Students That They Do Not Belong

Inequality – Education | The Atlantic | March 18th, 2019

The tactics described in the indictment were complex and multipronged, requiring multiple steps of deception and bribery by parents and their co-conspirators to secure their children’s admission to the schools of their choice. The alleged scheme was led by a man named William Singer, who called his business venture a “side door” into college. On Tuesday, Singer pleaded guilty to all charges.The case, rightfully, has set off a wave of conversations about how the wealthy are able to lie and manipulate their way into the country’s elite colleges and universities. (1800 words)

60. Many More Students, Especially the Affluent, Get Extra Time to Take the SAT

Inequality – Education | Wall Street Journal

ET SaveShare Text 890 ResponsesCaroline Arce works on her algebra at Celebration High School in Florida. At Weston High School in Connecticut, it is one in four. At Newton North High School outside Boston, it’s one in three. “Do I think that more than 30% of our students have a disability?” said Newton Superintendent David Fleishman. “No. We have a history of over-identification [as learning-challenged] that is certainly an issue in the district.”Across the country, the number of public high-school students getting special allowances for test-taking, such as extra time, has surged in recent years, federal data show. (2200 words)

61. Eat Food. All the Time. Mostly Junk.

Inequality – Food | The Atlantic | May 11th, 2019

No, not chic ones from the bakery, swathed in caramel buttercream, $3.95 each—I mean real cupcakes, baked at home by Mom and the kids in a classic ritual of American domesticity. This evening, Ashley—she’s one of nine women whose relationships with food are at the center of Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It—is making cupcakes with her two little girls. The family, which includes Ashley’s husband and his brother, as well as a cousin who’s just gotten out of jail and is temporarily sleeping on a couch, lives in a trailer near Raleigh, North Carolina. (2100 words)

62. Why invest in teenage girls?

Inequality – Gender | Financial Times | October 11th, 2017

The latest instalment shows women of different ages, races, faiths and abilities enjoying themselves doing stereotypically male activities such as boxing and football.Its message is too obvious for my 14-year-old daughter, who rolls her eyes at yet another adult preaching to her about girls being as good as boys. But she gets the point: she can aspire to anything that boys do — and that aspiration, in itself, is worthwhile.The bigger question the ad raises in her fiftysomething mother’s brain, is why we still find it necessary to run advertising like this. (1100 words)

63. Inequality and Globalization

Inequality – Globalisation | Foreign Affairs | Jan/Feb 2016

The average Frenchman, for example, probably does not care how many Chinese exceed his own standard of living, but that Frenchman surely would pay attention if he started lagging behind his fellow citizens. Yet when thinking about inequality, it also makes sense to approach the world as a single community: accounting, for example, not only for the differences in living standards within France but also for those between rich French people and poor Chinese (and poor French and rich Chinese). When looking at the world through this lens, some notable trends stand out. (1800 words)

64. Opinion | Why Prosperity Has Increased but Happiness Has Not

Inequality – Happiness | New York Times | August 21th, 2018

“All levels of income are better off than they were in 1979,” she retorted. “The honorable member is saying that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided the rich were less rich. … What a policy!”That slap-down was an iconic formulation of a premise of the Thatcher-Reagan conservative revolution: Poverty is a social problem, but inequality, as such, is not. Governments should aim to increase the incomes and opportunities of all, especially the poor, but to worry about the gap between the rich and the rest is “the politics of envy.” Morally speaking, Mrs. Thatcher and Ronald Reagan should have been right. (1300 words)

65. Inequality Is Not Inevitable

Inequality – History | New York Times | June 27th, 2014

AN insidious trend has developed over this past third of a century. A country that experienced shared growth after World War II began to tear apart, so much so that when the Great Recession hit in late 2007, one could no longer ignore the fissures that had come to define the American economic landscape. How did this “shining city on a hill” become the advanced country with the greatest level of inequality? One stream of the extraordinary discussion set in motion by Thomas Piketty’s timely, important book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” has settled on the idea that violent extremes of wealth and income are inherent to capitalism. (1700 words)

66. What Kills Inequality

Inequality – History | Foreign Affairs | August 15th, 2017

Princeton University Press, 2017, 528 pp.World War II devastated the economic infrastructures of Germany and Japan. It flattened their factories, reduced their rail yards to rubble, and eviscerated their harbors. But in the decades that followed, something puzzling happened: the economies of Germany and Japan grew faster than those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Why did the vanquished outperform the victorious?In his 1982 book, The Rise and Decline of Nations, the economist Mancur Olson answered that question by arguing that rather than handicapping the economies of the Axis powers, catastrophic defeat actually benefited them, by opening up space for competition and innovation. (3100 words)

67. How Rising Inequality Has Widened the Justice Gap

Inequality – Justice | New York Times | August 31th, 2018

Yet Smith himself understood that greed alone wouldn’t create a just community. He believed that markets could function adequately only in the context of an elaborate foundation of laws and ethical norms.But even the most carefully devised regulations aren’t sufficient. They must also be enforced, which requires costly resources. Generally, we let families decide for themselves whether to incur the necessary expenses to engage in civil disputes. Yet many families simply cannot afford to pay for competent legal representation.That’s why Congress created the Legal Services Corporation in 1974, a nonprofit whose mission is to support civil legal aid for low-income citizens. (1000 words)

68. Fresh Proof That Strong Unions Help Reduce Income Inequality

Inequality – Labour | New York Times | July 6th, 2018

They establish that unions have constrained income inequality far beyond their own membership ranks.While the scholars can’t pinpoint the precise mechanism at work, they speculate that unions have indirectly increased pay at firms nervous that their own employees might organize. Unions have also lobbied for higher minimum wages and pushed to hold down executive salaries. They have also advocated for broader access to health care, countering a key channel through which income inequality can harm all of society.The findings are particularly relevant in light of the Supreme Court’s June 27 decision in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. (1100 words)

69. Amazon’s $15 Minimum Wage Is a Brilliant Business Strategy

Inequality – Labour | The Atlantic | October 2nd, 2018

The company says this will raise wages for more than 250,000 employees, including those at Whole Foods, and perhaps another 100,000 seasonal workers the firm expects to hire during the holiday season. The company said it will also lobby the federal government to raise the national minimum wage to $15, a longtime target for retail and fast-food workers.The move offers a kind of Rorschach test for analysts and partisans. There are at least three different theories for why Amazon would make this announcement now.First, there is the “Advocacy works!” theory. (1100 words)

70. Amazon’s Pay Rise Has No Lessons for Minimum Wage Policy

Inequality – Labour | Cato Institute | October 3rd, 2018

Wage to $15an Hour” is a typical headline that one has seentoday. The company has announced that from November 1st its lowest payrate will increase to $15 per hour in the U.S., £10.50 in Londonand £9.50 elsewhere in the U.K. It follows criticism ofAmazon’s pay and conditions from everyone from FoxNews anchor Tucker Carlson to left-wing firebrand Senator Bernie Sanders. Emboldened by this perceived victory, the ‘Fight for$15’ in the U.S. and the “real” Living Wagecampaign in the UK now have a new company-level example to call onin support of statutory legislation. (600 words)

71. I worked in an Amazon warehouse. Bernie Sanders is right to target them

Inequality – Labour | The Guardian | September 17th, 2018

You can find almost anything on its website, and whatever it is you want – books, music, film – Amazon can get it to you the very next day or even sooner. We all know what Amazon does, but only now are we gaining a better understanding of how Amazon does it. Lately Amazon has been on the receiving end of criticism over the way it treats its workers as well as how much it pays them. At the forefront of this campaign has been Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders has introduced a bill designed to force companies such as Amazon to pay their workers higher wages. (1000 words)

72. Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America’s new nomads

Inequality – Labour | The Guardian | July 25th, 2018

In homes across the country, kitchen tables are strewn with unpaid bills. Lights burn late into the night. The same calculations get performed again and again, through exhaustion and sometimes tears. Wages minus grocery receipts. Minus medical bills. Minus credit card debt. Minus utility fees. Minus student loan and car payments. Minus the biggest expense of all: rent. In the widening gap between credits and debits hangs a question: which bits of this life are you willing to give up, so you can keep on living? (1600 words)

73. The controversy over Bernie Sanders’s proposed Stop BEZOS Act, explained

Inequality – Labour | Vox | September 11th, 2018

Right on cue, a large number of left-of-center academics and professional policy experts — backed up by a range of columnists and Twitter users — denounced the bill as another unworkable Sanders proposal. Bernieworld clapped back with allegations of corruption. Sanders’s senior policy adviser, Warren Gunnels, tweeted that criticisms of the plan from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) — progressive Washington’s premier source of policy analysis of poverty and social welfare programs — were motivated by Walmart’s donations to CBPP. (2400 words)

74. Why nearly 8,000 Marriott workers are striking in 8 cities

Inequality – Labour | Vox | October 10th, 2018

As of Wednesday, nearly 8,000 housekeepers, bartenders, and other service workers had walked off the job at 23 hotels in Detroit, Boston, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Maui, and Oahu, according to their labor union, Unite Here, which represents more than 20,000 Marriott workers in the United States and Canada. Employee tensions began to surge this summer, when labor contracts for about 12,000 Marriott workers started to expire. Employees spent the summer picketing and marching outside some of the country’s most prominent hotels, urging the world’s largest hotel company to give them more money and better benefits. (900 words)

75. The class pay gap: why it pays to be privileged

Inequality – Meritocracy | The Guardian | February 7th, 2019

By and Daniel LaurisonMark has one of the most coveted jobs in television. As a senior commissioner at one of Britain’s biggest broadcasters, he controls a budget extending to the millions. And every day, a steady stream of independent television producers arrive at his desk desperate to land a pitch. At just 39, Mark is young to wield such power. After making his name as a programmemaker, he initially became a commissioner at a rival broadcaster before being headhunted five years ago. (3500 words)

76. Opinion | Inequality for Dummies

Inequality – Mobility | New York Times | October 25th, 2017

The president, you have probably heard, has declared income inequality to be “the defining challenge of our time.” (Except he didn’t quite, but we’ll get to that.) Politicians, pundits and activists on the left have seized on the president’s words, along with the rising fortunes of progressive idols Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio, to refute the apostles of austerity (mostly Republicans these days) and lay down early populist markers for the 2016 elections. Liberals of a more centrist bent — notably the former Clintonites at the Third Way think tank — have refused to join the chorus and been lashed by fellow Democrats for their blasphemy. (1700 words)

77. It’s Basically Just Immoral To Be Rich

Inequality – Morality | Current Affairs | June 14th, 2017

The same is true if you possess hundreds of millions of dollars, or even millions of dollars. Being extremely wealthy is impossible to justify in a world containing deprivation. Even though there is a lot of public discussion about inequality, there seems to be far less talk about just how patently shameful it is to be rich. After all, there are plenty of people on this earth who die—or who watch their loved ones die—because they cannot afford to pay for medical care. There are elderly people who become homeless because they cannot afford rent. (2000 words)

78. Opinion | Are the Danes Melancholy? Are the Swedes Sad?

Inequality – Nordic | New York Times | October 27th, 2018

Are the Swedes Sad?The truth about the Nordic economies.Opinion ColumnistA Denmark soccer fan during the 2018 World Cup. It boils down to something along the lines of “You want Medicare for All? But what about the terrible things that happened under Mao Zedong?” That’s barely a caricature.However, one issue raised by the report has drawn some sympathetic appreciation even from liberals: the discussion of the Nordic economies, which are widely seen by U.S. progressives as role models. The report points out that real gross domestic product per capita in these economies is lower than in the U.S., and argues that this shows the costs of an expansive welfare state.But is a negative assessment of the Nordic economies really right? (1000 words)

79. Inequality is under attack – but what should equality really look like?

Inequality – Opportunity | The Guardian | January 4th, 2018

Now we need to open our political imaginations to determine what a more equal world really isIn recent decades equality of opportunity has been the dominant narrative, rather than equality of outcome. But this year, how should such outrage be extended into imagining, and creating, true equality? It’s often harder to answer this question than to point out specific examples of inequality. Over the past few decades, the most influential stories about what equality is have been created by the political right. (1300 words)

80. Why Swedes Are Chiller Parents Than Americans

Inequality – Parenting | The Atlantic | February 6th, 2019

Their daughter was born in Sweden, where she spent some of her childhood before the family moved to the U.K. and then Switzerland.As he spent time in each of these countries, Zilibotti—who now lives in the U.S., teaching economics at Yale—became intrigued by the variety of parenting philosophies he encountered, from Sweden’s laissez-faire style of child-rearing to the U.K.’s more rule-oriented approach. Parents in every country, he reasoned, loved their children more or less equally, so it seemed a little puzzling that they had such divergent ideas about what was best for their kids.That puzzle is the impetus for Love, Money, and Parenting: How Economics Explains the Way We Raise Our Kids, a new book that Zilibotti co-authored with Matthias Doepke, an economist at Northwestern University (who himself grew up in West Germany).Zilibotti and Doepke are both economists, so it makes sense that they focus on the incentives that different societies give parents to raise their kids in a certain way. (1200 words)

81. Are Chief Executives Overpaid? by Deborah Hargreaves

Inequality – Pay Gap | Financial Times | October 1th, 2018

I was no slacker, I just never worked for companies that believed in them. As chief executive of my own businesses, I didn’t introduce bonuses or performance-related pay. I hired good people to do work that excited them, gave them a stake in the business and that, it seemed to me, should be enough. After reading Deborah Hargreaves’s book, I feel as if I live on a different planet from her chief executives. I believed they were excessively paid, but I didn’t know that, for instance, Jeffrey Fairbairn, of construction firm Persimmon, earned enough in 2017 to build a house for every homeless person in York, where the company is based. (700 words)

82. Equality in executive pay is not always fair

Inequality – Pay Gap | Financial Times | May 24th, 2017

It called for a suite of interventions including stronger voting powers for shareholders, publication of pay ratios, and employee representation on remuneration committees. The manifestos of the UK’s main political parties suggest whoever forms the next government will follow through with similar ideas.But will they address the real problem? “Why People Prefer Unequal Societies”, a recent paper in Nature, the scientific journal, argues that the focus on inequality is overdone. What people actually want is a fair society, not an equal one. (800 words)

83. Why is America more tolerant of inequality than many rich countries?

Inequality – Pay Gap | The Economist | December 18th, 2017

In polls taken on the eve of a vote on the government’s tax bill in the Senate on December 2nd only between a quarter and a third of voters supported the plan. But in general Americans seem more willing than the inhabitants of other rich countries to tolerate inequality.Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that America is a relatively unequal country and that the government does comparatively little to redress the balance. The most common measure of inequality, the gini coefficient, takes a value between zero (if everyone earned exactly the same) and one (if all income were earned by one person). (600 words)

84. Disneyland and the fight for fairer pay in America

Inequality – Pay Gap | The Straits Times | April 25th, 2019

The thread went viral, partly because of my name. But I suspect it would be far harder to get that reaction if my last name were Procter or Gamble. That’s because the Disney brand occupies a special place in America’s economic landscape. Its profits are powered by emotion and sentiment and, yes, something as fundamental as the difference between right and wrong. I believe that Disney could well lead the way, if its leaders so chose, to a more decent, humane way of doing business. I had to speak out about the naked indecency of chief executive Robert Iger’s pay. (800 words)

85. Bill Gates preaches the aid gospel, but is he just a hypocrite?

Inequality – Philanthropy | The Guardian | January 6th, 2014

But he should question the example that Microsoft is setting by avoiding taxHe made his name as a sharp-elbowed businessman who rode the technology revolution with such style. But these days he is far more famous for his philanthropy, as a saviour of the poor who has made it his life’s mission to change the world for the better. So it was something of a shock to see he is still the richest person on the planet, boosting his fortune by another £9.6bn last year to an astonishing £48bn after a big rise in the Microsoft share price. (1100 words)

86. Billionaires raced to pledge money to rebuild Notre Dame. Then came the backlash.

Inequality – Philanthropy | Washington Post | April 18th, 2019

Within hours of the fire that destroyed much of the cathedral on Monday, donors pledged more than $1 billion to restore the Parisian icon to its former glory. Even before the smoke had cleared, luxury goods magnate Francois-Henri Pinault announced his family would donate 100 million euros ($112 million) to the effort. Not to remain on the sidelines, his rival Bernard Arnault — the chief executive of LVMH and the richest man in Europe — pledged twice that amount on Tuesday morning. The Bettencourt Meyers family, which controls L’Oreal, quickly matched that pledge. (300 words)

87. How the world’s richest 1 per cent may be fuelling the problems they’re trying to help solve

Inequality – Philanthropy | ABC | June 27th, 2019

Related Story: ‘Race against time’: US billionaire pledges largest-ever donation to fight climate changeRelated Story: Tycoons who promised millions for Notre Dame fire rebuild haven’t paid a centRelated Story: Shock and joy as US billionaire pledges to wipe student debtsWithin hours of the Notre Dame cathedral being engulfed by fire, French billionaires and tycoons pledged hundreds of millions of dollars towards its restoration. Key points:The world’s richest 1 per cent now controls half of the global population’s wealthCritics say the allowing billionaires to solve issues can foster inequalities that suit themSupporters maintain that the super rich are “damned if they don’t, damned if they do”But two months on, church and business officials announced they had barely received a fraction of the money pledged from major donors, while others questioned whether the more than $1 billion raised for restoration work was the most appropriate use of financial aid from the super rich given the world’s all encompassing problems. (1200 words)

88. How Should Governments Address Inequality?

Inequality – Policy | Foreign Affairs | October 16th, 2017

Harvard University Press, 2017, 688 pp.In 2014, an unusual book topped bestseller lists around the world: Capital in the Twenty-first Century, an 816-page scholarly tome by the French economist Thomas Piketty that examined the massive increase in the proportion of income and wealth accruing to the world’s richest people. Drawing on an unprecedented amount of historical economic data from 20 countries, Piketty showed that wealth concentration had returned to a peak not seen since the early twentieth century. (2400 words)

89. How to Create a Society of Equals

Inequality – Policy | Foreign Affairs | December 14th, 2015

But at the same time, there has been little movement to address the situation; instead, there is tacit acceptance of many specific forms of inequality and the processes that produce it. The result is widespread discontent together with practical passivity.One might call this a Bossuet paradox, after the seventeenth-century theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, who said, “God laughs at men who complain of the consequences while cherishing the causes.” Today, people deplore inequality in general, appalled by broad social statistics or extreme examples of wealth and poverty, but often consent to it in particular, regarding smaller variations in life outcomes as the result of presumptively legitimate individual choices and circumstances. (3100 words)

90. How to Spread the Wealth

Inequality – Policy | Foreign Affairs | December 14th, 2015

Defined in terms of the shares of disposable income of households across the economic spectrum, adjusted for varying needs, inequality today in the United States is significantly higher than it was a generation ago. The same is true in the United Kingdom, and even less laissez-faire countries, such as Germany and Sweden, have seen inequality increase dramatically.The main reason for the rise in inequality is the explosion in gains accruing to those at the very top of the income distribution. But the circumstances of those at the bottom have contributed, too. (2200 words)

91. Opinion | ‘Inequality Is a Choice’

Inequality – Policy | New York Times | May 2th, 2015

“The United States is beset by a crisis in inequality,” warned Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a Republican with Tea Party support (although he added that his concern is gaps in opportunity, not wealth).Likewise, Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, declared recently that “we have to do a better job” of curbing inequality.Yet while we broadly lament inequality, we treat it as some natural disaster imposed upon us. That’s absurd. “Soon thereafter, they seamlessly transitioned into a discussion of tax shelters.”Say what?We as a nation have chosen to prioritize tax shelters over minimum wages, subsidies for private jets over robust services for children to break the cycle of poverty. (900 words)

92. Opinion | The Roots of Implicit Bias

Inequality – Prejudice | New York Times | December 9th, 2016

Studies have shown that these subtle biases are widespread and associated with discrimination in legal, economic and organizational settings.Critics of this notion, however, protest what they see as a character smear — a suggestion that everybody, deep down, is racist. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has said that an “accusation of implicit bias” in cases where a white police officer shoots a black civilian serves to “demean law enforcement.” Writing in National Review, David French claimed that the concept of implicit bias lets people “indict entire communities as bigoted.”But implicit bias is not about bigotry per se. (900 words)

93. The big problem with short queues

Inequality – Queues | BBC | June 25th, 2019

After you swipe your credit card on arrival, staff receive a message that you’re in the building – and that you are a priority. Follow the assistant who greets you – oh no, don’t worry, YOU don’t have to queue with everyone else.This is all possible thanks to technology made by Wavetec, a specialist in “queue management systems”. Wavetec’s clients increasingly want ways of prioritising special or high-value customers so that services can be tailored accordingly. That means special treatment for the select few.It can be done with the tap of a credit card but Wavetec is also experimenting with other tools. (1400 words)

94. Does inequality cause suicide, drug abuse and mental illness?

Inequality – Relative | The Economist | June 14th, 2018

By Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Allen Lane; 352 pages; £20. To be published in America by Penguin Press in January 2019; $28. THERE is something peculiarly haunting about the recent suicides of Kate Spade, a well-known designer, and Anthony Bourdain, a chef and author (see Obituary). Evidently success—building brands and businesses, achieving wealth and fame—does not ease the psychic pain that many people suffer. Even at the top of the capitalist pyramid, these deaths insist, there is no escape from inner demons. (1800 words)

95. Opinion | A Simple Fix for Our Massive Inequality Problem

Inequality – Solutions | New York Times | November 30th, 2017

We seem stuck in the same policy equilibrium we have been in for decades, with conservatives denying that there is a problem and pushing policies that would make it even worse, liberals emphasizing the need for education and skills development, and leftists pushing for a unionized labor market and social-democratic welfare state.Some of these ideas are good ones, which would make life better for vulnerable people. But they’d do little to directly target inequality in our society or to capture all the benefits that economic fairness brings.The solution is simpler than it seems. (1300 words)

96. A radical idea for reducing inequality deserves more attention

Inequality – Solutions | The Economist | September 20th, 2018

Labour markets have made a slow and incomplete recovery from the trauma of the Great Recession. The crisis only briefly dislodged corporate profits as a share of GDP from historically high levels. Across much of the world, the share of national income flowing to labour has fallen over the past 40 years.Taxing the rich in order to fund spending on the poor is a straightforward solution to inequality. But the well-heeled are adept at squeezing through tax loopholes, and at marshalling the political clout needed to chip away at high tax rates. (900 words)

97. High taxes on the super-rich are back in vogue

Inequality – Tax | The Straits Times | February 27th, 2019

We don’t know yet, but in the United States, the battle lines are being drawn. The newly elected US Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines recently when she proposed a top marginal tax rate of 70 per cent on incomes of US$10 million (S$13.5 million) or more. The left-of-centre US politician and presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, proposes a 2 per cent “ultramillionaire wealth tax” on people with a net worth of US$50 million and an additional 1 per cent on those worth more than US$1 billion. (1600 words)

98. Blame technology not globalisation for rising inequality, says IMF

Inequality – Tech | Financial Times | April 10th, 2017

About half of this decline can be attributed to the impact of technological progress, which has made it easier to automate routine tasks, according to new analysis from the IMF. This has been more important than globalisation in affecting how much workers have benefited from economic growth.Because capital tends to be concentrated among the wealthy, a falling share of income for workers and vice versa for capital owners is likely to lead to rising income inequality, the study concludes.The IMF’s report comes just over a week before finance ministers and central bankers from around the world are due to meet in Washington for the first biannual IMF and World Bank meetings since Donald Trump became president of the US. (600 words)

99. Coded prejudice: how algorithms fuel injustice

Inequality – Tech | Financial Times | March 7th, 2018

Two new books argue that this optimistic vision is mistaken and that algorithms, as currently deployed, pose a major threat to the human rights of marginalised groups.By way of introduction to her topic, Safiya Umoja Noble, an assistant professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, recounts the experience that led her to write Algorithms of Oppression. In September 2011, looking for inspiration as to how to entertain her pre-teen stepdaughter and visiting nieces, Noble searched for “black girls” on Google. (1200 words)

100. Opinion | Why the Wealth Gap Hits Families the Hardest

Inequality – Wealth | New York Times | May 18th, 2018

Income inequality describes the gap between a six-figure salary and minimum wage. But the more alarming gap occurs in wealth — a household’s total assets minus debts. To understand how inequality is playing out in the United States, we need to look more closely at the wealth gap.In a recent paper, we examined wealth among families with children and among the elderly. We focused on children and the elderly because they are considered the most vulnerable in our society and because so much social policy is geared to help them. (1200 words)

101. Wealth inequality is soaring – here are the 10 reasons why it’s happening

Inequality – Wealth | The Guardian | April 12th, 2018

The latest, from the House of Commons, is that by 2030 the richest 1% will own two-thirds of global wealth. The distribution of wealth – or rather the lack of it – may well prove to be the defining issue of our age. Such inequality has provoked revolution and revolt in the past. It will do so again, unless we fix it. It’s true that wealth inequality has always existed, no matter what the design of the society. Whether capitalist or communist, democratic, autocratic, or plutocratic, it will exist. (1100 words)

102. The Reason Many Ultrarich People Aren’t Satisfied With Their Wealth

Inequality – Wealth | The Atlantic | December 4th, 2018

What drives people, once they’ve reached that point, to keep pursuing more?There are some good explanations, I found, after talking to a few people who’ve spent significant amounts of time in the presence of and/or researching the really, really rich. Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School professor who has studied the connections between happiness and wealth, had a particularly elegant model for understanding this pattern of behavior.Norton says that research regularly points to two central questions that people ask themselves when determining whether they’re satisfied with something in their life: Am I doing better than I was before? (1300 words)

103. Family offices become financial titans

Inequality – Wealth | The Economist | December 13th, 2018

Among those present are billionaires and their offspring, advisers and money managers, and a smattering of investment-minded blue-bloods, including Prince Michael of Yugoslavia. “We think there may be over $2trn represented in this room,” announces Mr Sayed, “though of course there’s no way of knowing.”Now an essential part of every self-respecting billionaire’s stable, FOs are booming. Their roles include managing families’ wealth, administering their assets and often other services, from the mundane (paying bills) to the knotty (succession-planning). (2600 words)

104. $500 a month on cable TV and cigarettes and this family still wants aid?

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 23th, 2018

She argued, among other things, that insufficient space can lead to children being open to negative influence and that the process of getting help can cause families living in rental flats to lose their dignity because they are often asked demeaning questions. As a practising social worker of 32 years, I started my career working with disadvantaged families. In the last five years, my team of social workers and I have worked at the Housing Board’s Bedok Interim Rental Housing (IRH) project, also called P4650 after the two blocks the families lived in. (1400 words)

105. Class divide: Singapore in danger of becoming academic aristocracy

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 3th, 2018

My parents were first-generation migrants from China who sold food for a living. They eked out a living first as itinerant hawkers, and then as hawkers resettled into government-run hawker centres. My parents spoke the Teochew dialect to me, and I learnt English and Mandarin only when I went to primary school…My consciousness about class arose in my days at Cambridge University (where I studied on a government scholarship). The Singaporean students were divided into two large groups: the “government scholars” or those studying there on government scholarships; and the “Pa Ma scholars” who were funded by their parents. (3000 words)

106. Focus on right measures of income inequality

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | August 8th, 2018

While I agree with several of her points, especially that too much inequality can have adverse consequences, I disagree with her on many others. While Prof Lim alludes to the Gini coefficient, a fair bit of the data she cited – including from the World Inequality Report 2018 by a group of researchers, including French economist Thomas Piketty – is about the income garnered by the top 10 per cent of the population. The income garnered by this group is a flawed measure of income inequality and has very little bearing on how the average person is faring. (1400 words)

107. How inequality and low wages can stall growth

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | July 21th, 2018

One such useful piece of research is the World Inequality Report 2018 produced by a group of researchers, including French economist Thomas Piketty. The report shows income inequality has been rising almost everywhere since 1980. Among high-income countries, the share of national income accruing to the top 10 per cent of income earners rose from 31-32 per cent in 1980 to 40 per cent in Britain and Germany, and 50 per cent in the United States in 2013-15. Over the same period, it rose from 22.8 to 30.6 per cent in Sweden, 24.2 to 32.1 per cent in Australia, 25.3 to 28.3 per cent in Norway, and 29.9 to 34.6 per cent in Switzerland. (1400 words)

108. Including those with special needs in our Singapore story

Singapore – Inequality | TODAY

It is in this VUCA (volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous) setting, that more intentional and visible strategies must surface so that the vulnerable amongst us can find a place. There is more that we, as a society, can do. Let me elaborate. Thanks to the intervention of Government and many helping hands, the lives of many young people with special needs have transformed for the better. Since 2007, the Government has made public three Enabling Masterplans. These are the roadmaps for Singapore to build a more inclusive society where persons with disabilities or special needs are empowered and enabled to realise their true potential. (1100 words)

109. Inequality is not just unfair, it’s also bad economics

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | July 21th, 2018

This label is a convenient, and rather dismissive, short-hand to refer to the academics and others challenging the assumptions behind Singapore’s social policy. They want policymakers and citizens to look beyond ways to help the poor, to understand how institutions, structures and mindsets behind policies have sometimes disadvantaged the poor and kept them marginalised. These academics and social workers say the poor are not poor because they made poor decisions, but are constrained by Singapore’s system into having a poor range of choices to choose from in the first place. (1600 words)

110. Inequality looks like this? Help!

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | March 18th, 2018

It is easy to make speeches on it or to write a commentary like this. There are numerous statistics one can cite, on income, what the rich earn compared to the poor, the type of work they do, their savings and so on, to make the case that Singapore has (and many other countries have) an unequal society. Lots of people know this, including the top leadership. In numerous speeches, including during the Budget debate in Parliament the last two weeks, we hear that income inequality is a pressing issue that needs to be resolved or it will divide Singapore society. (1400 words)

111. Kindness in an age of elitism

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 15th, 2018

I am not ignorant of the plight of the underprivileged, nor do I mean that I do not believe in the concept of meritocracy and equality. But the reality is that wealth and social status are never equally distributed across all strata of society, no matter how hard one works. No matter how perfect government policies are, there will always be the haves and the have-nots, and very often the haves will have an easier path in life simply because of the family they were born into. I do not advocate tearing this system apart in pursuit of an idealistic notion of equality and meritocracy. (900 words)

112. Lack of social mixing is a symptom of inequality, not a cause

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | June 7th, 2018

Certain neighbourhoods are over-represented by those with high income, and some schools have acquired a narrow student body composition of a disproportionate number of children from wealthier families. We hear that people are friends primarily with others of similar class backgrounds, and that they are rarely drawn to those in different levels of society. Some surmise that this is bad as the privileged ones will not develop empathy for those not equal in status. It is implied that a key solution to inequality lies in greater mixing. (1000 words)

113. Let’s talk about meeting needs, not just equality of opportunity

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | May 30th, 2018

I see creased foreheads when I say yes. This is clearly something that deeply bothers people. It violates Singaporeans’ sensibilities of fairness, built primarily around the ideal of equal opportunities. Meritocracy, opportunity and social mobility are regularly invoked as the answer to inequality. We talk a lot about protecting our meritocracy and ensuring opportunity for (upward) social mobility. Next to this, the issue of equality of outcomes has been sidestepped. Yet, if we take seriously the realities of inequality and the experiences of people living with less than adequate income, we must talk about outcomes, which is about how people’s lives actually are. (1300 words)

114. Looking at inequality: An analyst’s view

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | March 14th, 2018

Whether one looks at the recently released Institute of Policy Studies survey on social capital, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s candid comments in Parliament or to frequent chatter in the blogosphere, inequality is increasingly on the minds of Singaporeans. Still, it is doubtful that we shall see any responses in Singapore similar to the now virtually forgotten Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States. No IRP – Infiltrate Raffles Place – movement, mercifully. Rather, what we can expect is systematic analysis of inequality and serious policy measures by the Government to address the socioeconomic consequences. (900 words)

115. Commentary: Behind the public shaming of one wealthy elite, a disturbing but growing divide

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | September 2nd, 2018

Yet, many comments were not about her wrongdoing, but focused on her inherited wealth and how her privilege may cushion her from the consequences of her misdemeanours, with some labelling her a “Crazy Rich Asian”. To many, Audrey Tay embodied a certain type of wealthy elite, for whom Singapore seems to be a playground that allows them to live out profligate and reckless lifestyles, with little personal consequences because of their wealth and social capital. Yet it seems that social media platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or blogs have become platforms through which everyday opinions and sentiments are unleashed with little consideration and put on public display. (800 words)

116. Commentary: Can education fix inequality in Singapore? If not, what can?

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | June 1st, 2018

This makes sense, given the pernicious effects that persistently high inequality can have on economic growth, political stability, social cohesion, quality of life, and even national security. The 2016 Brexit and Trump votes occurred in the two major developed countries with the greatest income inequality — the UK and US respectively. Studies suggest that socio-cultural as well as economic divides resulting from inequality contributed to these electoral results, which have since led to populist and protectionist policy proposals that will slow growth in the long run. (1900 words)

117. Commentary: Can the rich be caring?

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | July 29th, 2018

A successful businessman, he was honoured by the Emperor of Japan and the President of the United States for his philanthropy. He believed strongly in the dignity of all. Despite his wealth, he lived in a modest three-bedroom house for most of his life and would chat with the homeless on the streets. People may forget his consumer electronics and dinnerware businesses, but they will remember his generosity which shaped the city of Los Angeles, and in particular, the Japanese-American community. Later on, I attended an elite school which offered scholarships to students from developing countries as part of its vision to promote international understanding. (1400 words)

118. Commentary: For greater social mobility, should the role of privilege in our education system be reassessed?

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | June 16th, 2018

Parents who are concerned about getting their children into popular schools next year are, no doubt, bracing themselves for the exercise. Those who are alumni of popular schools often feel they can rest easy. However, the process often invites the opprobrium of those who don’t have connections to such schools. But since 2014, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has been setting aside at least 40 places in every primary school for children without a prior connection. From 2019, all affiliated secondary schools will have to reserve 20 per cent of their Secondary One places for incoming students who do not have any affiliation priority. (1000 words)

119. Commentary: Singapore must do more to end slavery of the poor

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | February 14th, 2018

In one of my parliamentary speeches, I called upon us to guard against the “slavery of the poor”. It is a plight that happens when vulnerable, low-wage workers are taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers, who exploit this group’s ignorance of their employment rights. Trapped by the need to make a living for themselves and their families, these workers are prone to be shackled in servitude to the masters who control them, all because of the very limited jobs they can undertake given their age and skills. (1300 words)

120. Commentary: Tackle inequality by moving from emotion to action

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | April 6th, 2018

His story is gut-wrenching. He works long hours, but needs the income to support his wife and mentally disabled son. Netizens have called for the Government and unions to intervene, seeing that he earns well under S$2,000 a month including Workfare benefits. Others have drawn lessons about being nicer to those in service jobs that may not pay well, particularly the working elderly. A few suggested tipping him. In recent months, with the issue of inequality having already been in focus during Budget 2018 debates, it is reassuring that stories like his find traction among Singaporeans. (800 words)

121. Commentary: The Government needs to do more to bridge the class divide, but so do we

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | January 13th, 2018

If you come from an elite school, it’s likely most of your friends, even in adulthood, come from one of those schools too. If you live in a private estate, you’re not likely to have friends who live in the heartlands, according to a recent Institute of Policy Studies’ (IPS) survey. The findings of the Study On Social Capital In Singapore have come as no surprise to many Singaporeans. After all, isn’t it instinctive to make friends with the people you are most exposed to or have the most similarities with, even if those similarities are largely based on what some might say are superficial factors such as education and lifestyle? (1300 words)

122. Commentary: This is what the face of poverty looks like

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | September 8th, 2018

They married six years ago and have a young child, who is 5. While Alan is gainfully employed and earns a decent salary of S$2,500 a month, the family of three struggles financially. They have no savings but sustained debt, amounting to approximately S$5,000. It appears that the couple lacks the wisdom to budget, and had not been prudent in their expenses. Mani is a 21-year-old with a Primary 5 education who struggles to secure employment. She has a child, aged 5, with her first boyfriend whom she no longer keeps in touch with. (1200 words)

123. Commentary: Three stories on why tackling poverty requires active listening

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | June 30th, 2018

It is said that social workers play an important role in this process. However, tackling poverty requires that we go further than that. As a social worker, I lead a team of 20 who work with around 350 families at any one time. The low-income families we work with face many difficult choices. LIVING WITH SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOWSome time ago, a young colleague came into my office one morning. He wanted to discuss the situation of Mr Tan*, a man in his sixties who was going to be evicted from his current place of stay. (1300 words)

124. Economist’s liveability report meaningless for non-expats

Singapore – Inequality | The Online Citizen | August 17th, 2017

In March, the EIU ranked Singapore the most expensive city in the world. The Straits Times and TODAY made sure to include the words “for expats” in their headlines. “Singapore ranked world’s most expensive city for expats” went the headlines for both newspapers. Now that the EIU has ranked Singapore Asia’s third most liveable city, the headline for TODAY reads: “Singapore surpasses Hong Kong as Asia’s third most liveable city: Economist report”. And the headline for The Straits Times reads: “Singapore beats Hong Kong in liveability rankings for first time”. (700 words)

125. Heartache and duty: At 77, the petrol pump attendant who must keep working

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | March 30th, 2018

“I wouldn’t be able to sleep,” said the petrol pump attendant. “I’d think, ‘Why did I make that mistake?’”Take the one time years ago when he put in the wrong fuel grade, after a couple differed on the grade they wanted. The woman refused to pay the S$87. So he told her: “Though my pay is little, I made a mistake and I’ll pay.” His manager later made up for his loss by giving him vouchers. You could say that for Mr Yasin, his job for the past 15 years at an Esso station in Yishun has been both a source of comfort and of anxiety. (1400 words)

126. Inequality a threat to Singapore’s solidarity; needs to be looked into: Sylvia Lim

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | February 28th, 2018

The first of her fellow opposition members to speak on Wednesday (Feb 28), Ms Lim questioned, after all the initiatives by the Government throughout the years to mitigate inequality, how much it really knows about its successes in reducing inequality and how much more needs to be done. She said Singapore’s Gini coefficient, which highlight’s a country’s income distribution, stood at 0.459 before Government transfers in 2017, and 0.402 after transfers. Quoting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s words in January, Ms Lim said while this is an improvement from 2013, it is still higher than many developed countries. (1100 words)

127. Inequality is a threat – name it, and face it

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | February 17th, 2018

It was both an easy and difficult feature to do. I was then studying at Cambridge University on a government scholarship. All I did was talk to my friends and friends of friends. They included offspring of a diplomat, university professor, senior lawyer, doctors, and others in establishment circles. My university mates were, well, just mates. We talked. They were not at all snobbish or arrogant. But it was also a difficult assignment because I was writing about class, and although I went to college with them, I stood on the other side of the divide, as a child of working-class parents. (1600 words)

128. MSF to strengthen social service delivery on the ground

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | March 7th, 2018

To begin with, it wants to make it easier for needy individuals and families alike to apply for social assistance schemes from different agencies. Said Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee: “As far as possible, they should not need to submit the same documents, repeat their circumstances, or fill in multiple application forms asking for similar information. This will help reduce the burden often faced by low-income individuals and households seeking help, who may already be in distress or urgent need. (900 words)

129. Singapore’s approach to addressing socio-economic inequality has ‘served it well’: Indranee

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | October 2nd, 2017

Speaking in Parliament, she said Singapore’s Gini coefficient has moderated over the last five years. “Our people have also seen good income growth, with the lower-income seeing their real per capita household income grow by close to 20 per cent over the last five years.”The Gini coefficient is a measure of income inequality. She was responding to a question from Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera, who had asked if the Finance Ministry would regularly review the Government’s commitment to socio-economic inequality, and publish the results of such reviews. (500 words)

130. Singapore’s household income grew in 2017, income inequality unchanged: Singstat

Singapore – Inequality | Channel News Asia | February 8th, 2018

Among households headed by a Singapore citizen or permanent resident which had at least one working person, the median monthly income grew 2 per cent in nominal terms to S$9,023 last year, from S$8,846 in 2016. Factoring in inflation, the increase was 1.5 per cent in real terms, data from the Department of Statistics showed. After accounting for household size, the median monthly income per household member rose 4.5 per cent in nominal terms, or 3.9 per cent in real terms, to S$2,699 in 2017. Resident employed households across all income groups in Singapore also enjoyed real growth in average work earnings per member last year, the report said. (300 words)

131. When kids say ‘I lazy what’

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | February 4th, 2018

A great deal of attention and resources are channelled into public education. Teachers receive rigorous and continual training, and teaching is a well-compensated and well-respected job. We see high regard for academic rigour – pegged to global standards of abilities, and in specific foundational subject areas (Mathematics and Science). There is bilingual education which takes into account, to a degree, the needs of different ethnic groups, including minorities. We see attention to children with different learning styles and abilities, and we see the existence of programmes and human resources that target these differences. (2100 words)

132. Tackling inequality vigorously: Academics give their views

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | May 11th, 2018

In President Halimah Yacob’s address, she spoke of the importance of tackling inequality vigorously, emphasising in particular giving every child a good start in life. To tackle inequality, we must take seriously its holistic nature and resist the urge to quarantine it into neat containment areas. Inequality is not a problem only of children and education, nor one tackled only by targeting the low-income. Public policy in many areas of life must prioritise redistribution and universal access to ensure everyone can meet their needs. (2800 words)

133. The Big Read: Social stratification — a poison seeping into S’pore’s housing estates and schools

Singapore – Inequality | TODAY

Social inequality has become a buzz phrase among national discussions, and the issue remains a work in progress. Of late, however, a new phrase has entered the government’s lexicon: Social stratification. It refers to an institutionalised system of social inequality — a dire situation that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned about in February, but one which is starting to take root and risks becoming entrenched, as several Cabinet Ministers and other Members of Parliament (MPs) highlighted during the five-day debate on the President’s Address earlier this month. (3600 words)

134. The ethics of reducing inequality

Singapore – Inequality | TODAY

It is not just that one part of his wealth is due to luck; rather, all of it is.Published11 April, 2018Updated 11 April, 2018What has luck got to do with it?Around the world, the effects of alarmingly high economic inequality are spilling over into politics and society. Economic insecurity is a driving force behind violent conflicts in the Middle East and the rise of fascist elements in some European countries. Even in older democracies such as the United States, economic marginalisation has led to a strengthening of chauvinist and supremacist identities and other social problems such as the opioid epidemic. (1000 words)

135. What Spore’s fertility debate teaches us about inequality: More schemes won’t work unless we look at big picture

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | July 17th, 2018

Are there lessons to draw from the experience of those discussions? Between 2003 and 2013, much of my research was on Singapore’s family policies. I published academic articles and newspaper commentaries about fertility patterns and public policy. I posed this puzzle: Singaporeans have fewer children than they would like to; why? Once we see this as the appropriate starting point, we know we must look beyond individual desires and “mindsets” to focus on larger structural conditions. Two points are key: first, wage work and care responsibilities are stressful and challenging, and existing conditions do not allow people to easily balance the two and live the lives they hope for. (1300 words)

136. Why jokes about ‘low SES’ are not funny

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | April 15th, 2018

It started last month, when a social studies guidebook – in a section on how one’s class and socioeconomic status can shape an individual’s identity – attempted to come up with examples of “higher SES” or “lower SES” traits. The writer, Rowan Luc, used a table with two columns. The one labelled higher SES had actions such as “use of formal English in daily conversation” and “regular fine dining at expensive restaurants”. In the lower-SES column were “use of Singlish or… dialects in daily conversation” and “eating at hawker centres”. (1000 words)

137. Why Singapore gives top priority to fighting income inequality

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | February 6th, 2018

Maintaining social harmony is very much at the top of the Government’s priorities. There are three aspects of this issue: income inequality, social mobility and social integration. They are inter-related. Over the last half century, income inequality has increased in almost all developed economies, including Singapore. The problem is most acute in large cities, for they tend to be where a country’s wealth is created and concentrated. Singapore is both a city and a country. Our Gini coefficient is higher than that of many other advanced countries. (1100 words)

138. A tale of two rankings

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | November 1th, 2018

But just two days later, another report, this time by the World Bank, put Singapore in first place worldwide for human capital development. The contrast between how Singapore fared in the two studies may have struck many as puzzling. Certainly it gave food for thought to experts who study the country’s development. There are lessons to be gleaned from both, they say, and Singapore could benefit from taking a more critical view of such international rankings – regardless of whether it comes in at No. (1600 words)

139. Beware ‘class warfare’ approach to taxes

Singapore – Inequality | The Straits Times | April 11th, 2019

Decades of strong growth produced economic convergence with rich nations in North America and Western Europe. Given how few nations have made that jump, this is a remarkable achievement. What’s even more noteworthy is that Singapore’s economy then continued to expand at a healthy pace. Based on measures such as per-capita economic output, residents of Singapore are now significantly better off than their counterparts in almost every nation in the so-called rich man’s club of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (1000 words)

140. Technology is splitting the US workforce into two

Tech – Inequality | The Straits Times | February 10th, 2019

There’s Intel’s US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion), 7-nanometer chip plant going up in Chandler. In Scottsdale, Axon, the maker of the Taser, is hungrily snatching talent from Silicon Valley as it embraces automation to keep up with growing demand. Start-ups in fields as varied as autonomous drones and blockchain are flocking to the area, drawn in large part by light regulation and tax incentives. Arizona State University is furiously churning out engineers. And yet for all its success in drawing and nurturing firms on the technological frontier, Phoenix cannot escape the uncomfortable pattern taking shape across the US economy: Despite all its shiny new high-tech businesses, the vast majority of new jobs are in workaday service industries, such as healthcare, hospitality, retail and building services, where pay is mediocre. (1700 words)