News / Economy

UN Sounds Alarm on Worsening Global Income Disparities

Goldsmiths work on gold ornaments at a workshop in India, Jan. 6, 2014. A new UN report finds widening income disparities in countries like India, which has seen significant levels of economic growth in recent decades.
Goldsmiths work on gold ornaments at a workshop in India, Jan. 6, 2014. A new UN report finds widening income disparities in countries like India, which has seen significant levels of economic growth in recent decades.
Reuters
The U.N. Development Program warned in a report on Wednesday that income disparities in countries around the world have been worsening, posing new risks for global economic and political stability.

The UNDP warning echoes remarks from U.S. President Barack Obama in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, in which he said there was a widening gap between rich and poor in the world's biggest economy and that while the stock market has soared, average U.S. wages have barely budged.

The UNDP report said income inequality increased by 11 percent in developing countries over the two decades between 1990 and 2010. The majority of households in developing countries - more than 75 percent of those nations' populations - are living today in societies where income is more unequally distributed than it was in the 1990s, the report said.

The UNDP says this is a global trend that, if left unchecked, could have dire consequences since it “can undermine the very foundations of development and social and domestic peace.”

The widening income gap comes as some major developing countries - such as China and India - have seen strong economic growth and an overall increase in national wealth. But that wealth has not been evenly distributed, which has contributed to greater inequality in those societies.

“The sharpest increases in income inequality have occurred in those developing countries that were especially successful in pursuing vigorous growth and managed, as a result, to graduate into higher income brackets,” the UNDP report said.

“Economic progress in these countries has not alleviated disparities, but rather exacerbated them,” it said.

In an interview with Reuters, UNDP chief Helen Clark made clear that this negative trend is reversible and that one of the key components is creating quality employment opportunities.

“The key thing is the focus on jobs - jobs, jobs, jobs,” Clark said, adding that it was important for governments to pay attention to ways of improving the skills of its labor force.

She also touched on the subject of the widening income disparities in countries like China and India, which have seen significant levels of economic growth in recent decades.

“It's the nature of the growth,” she said. “If it's uneven growth ... it does create tensions within society because people can see that others are doing much better than them.”

“The China example shows that you get fast growth and poverty reduction, but you also get the growing inequalities,” Clark said. “And this is of concern to China's leadership.”

The report said there was evidence that increases in inequality over the last two decades were mainly due to trade and financial globalization processes that weakened the bargaining position of labor.

Clark said one of the problems with globalization is that it “has proceeded in a very deregulated world.” She advocates more regulation of international trade and financial flows but without eliminating risk and the ability of companies to generate profits.

“It's a balance,” she said. “You have to leave room for risk.”

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9211
JPY
USD
119.18
GBP
USD
0.6722
CAD
USD
1.2509
INR
USD
62.518

Rates may not be current.