Recently both the United Nations and the NGO Oxfam has pointed out a worrying fact : income inequality is growing. Indeed, to Oxfam, 85 people own the same wealth as the bottom half the world’s population.
But as a recent UN Population Fund report pointed out : ” The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 per day has fallen from 47 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 2010. But growing inequality could undermine these gains. “
This doesn’t show that capitalism does not work, it points out to the fact that it could work much better by redistributing wealth better.
This should allow the Bottom of the Pyramid to have access to water, electricity, sanitation, medicine, basic education and so on. The UNFPA goes on :
Today, 8 per cent of the world population has 82 per cent of global wealth, and more than a billion people continue to live in extreme poverty, without access to social protections, meaningful work, or public health or education services.
The gains made over the past 20 years cannot be sustained if we do not address inequality.
The UN report does show that many trends that are going in the right direction, as in the past two decades :
- The population is growing more slowly : Twenty years ago, the population was growing by 1.52 per cent per year. Today, it is growing by 1.15 per cent per year.
- Women are having fewer children : In 1994, the average woman had about three children. Today, the fertility rate is around 2.5 children per woman.
- Maternal deaths have fallen by almost half : Deaths related to complications in pregnancy and childbirth have dropped by 47 per cent since 1994.
- Around the world, life expectancy has increased by 5.2 years : Life expectancy grew from 64.8 years in 1990-1995 to 70 years in 2010-2015.
- More children are attending school than ever – and the largest gains have been among girls :Primary school enrolment rates have jumped from somewhere over three quarters in 1990 to about 90 per cent in 2010.
Next week we will have a closer look at the aforementioned Oxfam report, so stay tuned…