Re: One humanity, all in the same boat

From: Chris Hibbert (
Date: Sat Jan 19 2002 - 00:10:46 MST

Peter wrote:
> I haven't been able to find any statistics from Simon that say the gap
> between the rich and poor is getting smaller.

The diagram I was thinking of is on page 325 of "The Ultimate Resource II".
It shows infant mortality for blacks and whites from 1915 through 1990 in the
US. Mortality declines strongly in both cases, black mortality is chasing
white mortality all the way down. It starts at 100/1000 live births in 1915
for whites and 180/1000 for blacks. The black statistics rises a bit at the
start and then fall steeply, so that by 1925 the numbers are ~75 and ~120 (by
eye). By 1990, they're both under 20/1000, but the white numbers look to be
3/4 of the ones for blacks.

I didn't mean that income inequality was shrinking, though I can see why you
might have thought that.

I was in general unimpressed by the arguments of "Luxury Fever". I agree that
many people are driven by envy and care about relative standing. I don't see
that that gives the argument moral weight. Some people are doing very well at
improving the lives of others, and they're being compensated very well for it.
 That's why life is so much better for everyone, including the worst off.

> one of the things
> that Ehrlich was still willing to bet on around 1994 was:
> "The gap in wealth between the richest 10% of humanity and the
> poorest 10% will be greater in 2004 than in 1994"

I wouldn't take Erlich's bet either. I don't consider it important that
inequality fall, and I don't consider it a good measure of anything I value.


It is easy to turn an aquarium into fish soup, but not so easy to turn 
fish soup back into an aquarium.
-- Lech Walesa on reverting to a market economy.
Chris Hibbert

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