Rich-poor divide accelerating, says OECD

 
Protesters in Cyprus The OECD said austerity measures should be offset by welfare spending to ease inequality

The gap between rich and poor widened more in the three years to 2010 than in the previous 12 years, the OECD group of industrialised nations has said.

It says the richest 10% of society in the 33 OECD countries received 9.5 times that of the poorest in terms of income, up from nine times in 2007.

Those with the biggest gaps included the US, Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

The OECD says that if governments do not stop cutting back on welfare support this gap will grow wider.

The Paris-based group is generally in favour of free-market policies, but has recently become more vocal in support of more generous social provision to soften the impact of the economic downturn of the past few years.

Many countries, particularly within the eurozone, have been cutting back hard on welfare spending in an attempt to reduce debt and balance government books as tax revenues fall because of weak growth.

In some cases, this is a condition of international support from the likes of the International Monetary Fund.

The OECD's secretary general, Angel Gurria, said: "These worrying findings underline the need to protect the most vulnerable in society, especially as governments pursue the necessary task of bringing public spending under control."

Countries where the gap was least pronounced were mainly in the north of Europe, with Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Slovenia the most egalitarian societies.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 198.

    "The OECD said austerity measures should be offset by welfare spending to ease inequality"

    Fantastic idea! Let the private sector be manipulated by greed and then get the public sector to bridge the gap. The rich get richer and the deficits get bigger.

    I'm tired of corporate welfare - Mussolini's dream is coming true.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 197.

    When I looked into the figures for the UK, I found we were more equal than I had thought. The median pay for full time employment is around £26K, the minimum wage just under half that, less than 10% get twice that. Less than 1% 5 times. Only 10 000 are worth more than 20 million, which is one in 10s of thousands worth 100 times a normal homeowner.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 196.

    This is NOT unexpected news. The dangers are that more unrest will be caused if governments do not stop attacking the poor who are not responsible for the mess we are in. Unfortunately a small minority of people run countries but do not listen to the vast majority. The gap between rich and poor will continue to widen until real people, who have suffered long-term hardship, are elected. SOME HOPE!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 195.

    "Rich-poor divide accelerating"

    Hardly surprising when it is the Nasty Party's agenda to enrich themselves at the cost of the vulnerable. The Tories know that the poor have little say and cannot do anything to stop them. Easy pickings.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 194.

    There is more to come for the rich and poor divide. We haven't seen the worst yet. Every country is racing to the bottom.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 193.

    Free market capitalism. People voted it in with Thatcher. That's when people became consumers and the world became a corporation throwing benign capitalism to the wind. The wealthy no longer feel the need to look after those who do actual work to provide them with that wealth. Workers are fobbed off with a bit of pocket money. People are commodities these days and it's too late to change things.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 192.

    This is the core of what Neo Liberal Economics is all about...


    ...the richest 0.001% already own at least $30Tr between them, mostly stashed in off shore tax havens...


    ...but because the entitlement culture that pervades these greedy people they want an ever larger share of the pie...



    ....at our expense......


    ...new Govt. now please....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 191.

    175.
    Sally
    6 Hours ago

    "When government taxes and spends, it delivers 1/2 the service at twice the price of the private sector." normally by contracting to privateers.,,

    "But, we don't need an expensive inefficient middleman/bureaucrat taking a big cut, to inject our money into our society for us".. and exactly what is a service economy or the stock and capital markets?

    Depressingly naive.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 190.

    141. "A rich/poor divide is not necessarily bad if it promotes well-being for all. For example, pre-reform China was very egalitarian - everyone was poor - while pseudo-capitalistic China has big gaps but is better, overall."

    Winner of sweeping neo-liberal nonsense statement of the year goes to you DavidintheUSA.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 189.

    Would it be possible to bring in a law to,impose a maximum standard of living,and wealth,on a person,that it possible to have.????????????????.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 188.

    Why can't you set the minimum wage at £40,000 per year?

    some jobs and industries simply do not support that kind of wage. how would a fast food restaurant or coffee house pay that kind of money without a dramatic price increase, that money has to come from somewhere. then when people are not interested in paying for the increase they close. now instead of working poor you just have poor.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 187.

    185.Darren
    Your fears of violence during economic hardship are well founded, look at Germany after the Wiemar hyper-inflation. I truly fear for this lovely country. Our governments have us on course for a huge iceberg.

    We're told the GFC in 2008 was the iceberg. It was not, it was merely an ice cube. The real monster is in front of us.
    Heed my advice, protect your family, buy gold and silver.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 186.

    Tom@182
    Minimum Living Wage. Better than (unliveable) National Minimum

    But not the prescription for mutual respect, human dignity, the security of loved ones and the future of humanity

    For all that, for genuine representative democracy, we need to understand & adopt income-share equality. Without which "we" have precious little meaning. Merely managed. By Quislings of Mammon. To extinction.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 185.

    The way I see it Sally is the actions of past and present governments are actually winning that war for us.I would say that the nation have reached the tipping point of outgrowing them totally and the more they carry on as they are the quicker it will happen. What worries me is how the people will react when they try to stop us ! usually it is met with violence and I believe this will happen soon.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 184.

    183.Tom
    "A Minimum Living Wage would be the first, very small step, to creating a fairer (by no means equal) society."
    =
    Can you answer this, please:
    Why can't you set the minimum wage at £40,000 per year?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 183.

    A Minimum Living Wage would be the first, very small step, to creating a fairer (by no means equal) society.The arguments against the NMW back in 1997 were found to be false and tantamount to scaremongering, the arguments against a MLW are plagued with inaccuracies also.
    Lets stop subsidising low wages with tax credits and put more money in the hands of those with the highest propensity to spend.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 182.

    180.Darren
    I agree, and we're getting less free daily.
    I agree with everything else you've said.

    We don't need big government. If we slashed all taxes to 10%, that means slashing government. Sounds scary, I know. But, we don't need an expensive inefficient middleman/bureaucrat taking a big cut, to inject our money into our society for us.

    We can do that ourselves, thank you very much.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 181.

    IF we share faith in political equality, we should note that the least able will require the most help to reach even basic political awareness

    Rather than invest heavily in the very difficult, burdensome, impossible, better to settle on income equality, all able to depend on the conscience of all others - free from conflict of interest - for our mutual representation in every sphere and level

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 180.

    @177
    Unfortunately Britain is very far from being a free society..the rich elite would hunt you down and convince society that your mad ! so they can protect what they believe they have earned or own ! thats why the trickle down theory doesn't work....We are governed by elitists that work on 2 morals. 1.Whats yours is mine and whats mine is my own and 2.Dont do as I do but do as I say.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 179.

    176.Darren
    Middle & upper income people spend money on things they want.
    Clothes, meals, mail ordered deliveries, making reservations via call centres, new houses cars boats and toys, goods and services of all kinds... the market wants to meet all of this demand so jobs will be created, lifting some of the poor out of poverty.

 

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