Re: Wealth Distribution

From: Carlos Gonzalia (
Date: Tue Jul 24 2001 - 21:08:53 MDT

>From: "Lee Corbin" <>
>Carlos wrote
>> But the statistics I've read for Argentina show a continued
>> increase in income concentration on behalf of the 10% or so
>> of the population that forms the upper class.
>Can you also claim that the increase in *concentration* among
>the upper clase takes place without the other classes actually
>becoming better off (in real terms) too?

I think I can. According to our National Institute of Statistics
and Census 'Permanent Home Inquiry 99', in the Great Buenos Aires
zone (the richest part of the country, and home to about 30%
of the total population), the upper class experienced an income
increase of 5%, while the middle and lower classes experienced
an income reduction of 10% during that year. Gini coefficients
for income distribution has gone from 0.365 to 0.439 since 1980.
The poorest 20 percent of the population has seen their mass
income reduce from 4.6% ot total to 3.9% of total since 1989.
I can't find the rise for the richest 20 percent (I think it
was around 45-50% of the total mass income at 1989), but
the Inquiry 99 shows them getting the 55.2% of the total mass
income at that moment. These figures are mentioned in a recent
paper by Laura Tedesco in the Bulletin of Latin American Research
19, pp. 527-545.

>I claim that an *increase* in the *concentration* of top-class
>wealth is a positive sign, because (I also claim) it is so
>historically well-correlated with general advances in society
>and richer economies.

No dispute there. The upper classes can get as rich as they want
or are able to, it will certainly help the country unless they don't
re-invest their earnings (as they are culturally prone to do, to the
happiness of bankers in Switzerland and the Caribbean havens).
On the other hand I think there is nothing possitive when it happens
at the same time (due to, if one gets paranoid?) the lower classes not
getting any of the benefits for the privatizations and the pseudo-free
markets so created. In this case, the situation seems to be even
worse, as the lower classes have seen their income reduced in very
real terms.


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