Tijo Salverda

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The unequal distribution of inequality: Lessons from South Africa

As I have already pointed out in an earlier piece in this blog, growing inequality has become a major issue of concern around the world. With the buzz Thomas Piketty’s work has generated, inequality now features prominently on the political agenda of Europe and the US. Piketty’s book is part of a wider trend in policy and public debates: the uncomfortable reality of inequality is brought back ‘home’ to the Western centres of economic development. It is not anymore the defining characteristic of economies like South Africa, Russia or Brazil. 

South Africa, where this blog is based, provides an interesting case for comparison with Europe and the US. South Africa is a tremendously unequal society, ranking second highest in the world for income inequality measured by the Gini Index. Compared to the US and, especially, Europe, the nature of its inequality appears of a different kind. Hence, a closer look at the South African case may give some additional insights about differences in inequality…[read the rest of the blog post on the Human Economy blog]