A wealth gap

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10689232

My comments on the thrust of the article:

  • Singapore (the “worst” country in terms of wealth equality) is not exactly rife with crime, social dysfunction and drug abuse. In fact it is held by many as a model society. From what I know the stats for healthcare and education in Singapore are ahead of Scandinavia while crime, public drunkenness and illicit drugs are almost unknown. Also I have not seen many obese Singaporeans. All this goes to show that social problems are never one dimensional.
  • I spent my youth in a very egalitarian Eastern European country where most people were on pathetically low wages and wealth was not a determinant of one’s social status. However, it was full of corruption, alcoholism, family dysfunction, lack of respect for authorities and other social ills. Going by the wealth gap indicator it should not have been.
  • An even more extreme example is Cambodia under Pol-Pot where all citizens were perfectly equal in terms of wealth – they all had nothing. These conditions should have produced a happy, harmonious society but they did not.
  • I do not know how countries like Sudan, North Korea, or Bhutan fit into the stats. Their social structure seems to be determined by other conditions than wealth distribution (basic survival, political oppression and religion, respectively)

Might it be that the absolute level of wealth of the disadvantaged social classes and social order have more impact on the stats of social dysfunction than the wealth gap factor?

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