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Nice clarification ... question is now why are we discussing income equality

Jon Peltier

It would have been interesting to see the median for the other countries on the same scale, where US = 100.


I am not quite sure that I agree. I think there are two topics here that are conflated:

1) There is an absolute amount of inbcome that the poorest/wealthiest receive. The graph shows clearly that the poor in all these countries receive more or less the same income (although this excludes softer factros, such as healthcare insurance) and that there are significant differences in the income that the richest have.

2) This graph does actually not talk about income inequality at all. In order to visualise this, I personally would have chosen a simple ranking/table with the rank, country name and a multiplier of inequity (percentages seem hard to grasp).


Robert Kosara

Not only did the graph opine, but it opined the wrong way. Here is an example of an institution that is pushing an agenda, and therefore needs to opine. They just picked the wrong means of doing that (some thoughts based on your previous post here, btw).

Your version of that chart is clearly more useful, because it uses the information that is actually the important part. What would be even better would be a histogram showing the different distributions, because it would show the inequality in more detail. It would also allow us to compare how spiky or flat the distributions are relative to each other, which again would be much more instructive and impressive - the whole point of redistribution is to flatten, but flatness of a distribution is very hard to see from percentiles. Few people will understand that at all, but distinguishing a more or less skewed distrbution from a histogram is easy and obvious.

Here's another interesting website about income and distribution of wealth, this one over the whole world: Global Rich List. It's quite shocking to see how well we are doing relative to most of the world, even if we don't consider ourselves rich. It's not a visualization or infographic as such, but it's still very impressive. And it doesn't murmur, either ;)


What I find most surprising is the bizarre decision to quote the 2000 median household income as a percentage of the 2000 USA median household income, and then not say what the 2000 USA median household income was. Why not simply say what the 2000 median household income was in 2000 dollars instead?

Searching for the USA figure proved frustrating, so I simply assumed it was £40k, making the country figures as follows:

Australia $13.6k
Finland $15.2k
Sweden $15.2k
United Kingdom $15.6k
United States $15.6k
Germany $16.4k
Netherlands $16.4k
Denmark $17.2k
Belgium $17.2k
France $17.2k
Canada $18.0k
Norway $20.0k
Switzerland $22.0k

Using a scatter graph to compare them with the per-capita GDP (taken from table 8.1 of the same paper) produces a surprising result: the real "redistributionist paradises" are not the Scandinavian countries Norway, Denmark and Sweden, at ~50%, but the Francophone countries Belgium, France and Canada, wher the tenth percentile income is a whopping ~70% of the per capita GDP! :-)

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