Magazine article The Futurist

Global Wage Gap Is Closing

Magazine article The Futurist

Global Wage Gap Is Closing

Article excerpt

The haves and have-nots of the world are getting a little less unequal, at least in terms of average incomes. Rapid income growth in China and southern Asia, due largely to globalization, means that the gap between the world's rich and poor countries is narrowing, according to sociologist Glenn Firebaugh of Pennsylvania State University. Simply put, people are better off than they were 30 years ago.

"On average, incomes worldwide are increasing at a little less than 2% a year, but China's is increasing at about 6%," Firebaugh writes in The New Geography of Global Income Inequality. "About 40% of the world's population lives in China or south Asia, and with such a substantial portion of the world's population moving up in income, this has been compressing income inequality worldwide."

Firebaugh credits the forces of globalization for narrowing the income gap and argues that if globalization were stopped it would leave many of the world's poor in dire straits. This global decline in inequality is based on average incomes, however, and inequality continues to grow within individual countries, such as the United States, and at the extreme ends, such as in sub-Saharan Africa. …

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