Okt 25

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In fact, in neither country had economic growth slowed or inequality risen in recent years. In the last decade, Egypt’s per capita income grew at the respectable rate of 2.6 percent per year and Tunisia’s grew at 3.4 percent. The growth rate of both countries exceeded that of the eurozone (which was just under one percent) over the same period.The fruits of this higher growth did not go exclusively to the rich.Ugg australia classic mini grey In Tunisia, inequality declined in the 1980s, increased in the 1990s, and has been constant since. In Egypt, it has been on the decline.Just before the revolutions, the level of inequality was high but not outrageous in both countries: in Tunisia, it was almost the same as in the United States, and in Egypt, it was lower. Broadly constant Gini coefficients meant that everyone’s income increased by about the same percentage – the rising tide lifted all boats. This is not the situation typically associated with widespread disenchantment and imminent revolution.

The origins of the anger that developed into the Arab Spring must be sought elsewhere – in the feelings of injustice that the existing distribution of income had generated, and the perception that inequality was higher than it really was.Feelings of injustice are driven by domestic factors. When combined with corruption and persistently high unemployment, inequality is transmuted into inequity in people’s minds.In both Egypt and Tunisia, the top of the income pyramid was composed of people who acquired their wealth through corruption. The jobless saw their problems as resulting directly from the way the rich amassed their fortunes. Indeed, fraudulent enrichment,Ugg australia classic mini grey unlike wealth gained from increased entrepreneurship, inventiveness, or harder work, is unproductive – the result of a zero-sum game.

Ugg australia classic mini grey Meanwhile, exaggerated perceptions of inequality are driven by two global factors: the ethos of today’s capitalism and globalization. Success in today’s world is celebrated immoderately. The new capitalist society – ushered in by the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s – is winner-take-all. Worse, the winner wants everybody to know he is the winner. Extravagant consumption, displays of political power and ostentatious living are used to validate success.”Society was so framed as to throw a great part of the increased income into the control of the class least likely to consume it. The new rich of the nineteenth century were not brought up to large expenditures, and preferred the power which investment gave them to the pleasures of immediate consumption. In fact, it was precisely the inequality of the distribution of wealth which made possible those vast accumulations of fixed wealth and of capital … which distinguished that age from all others. Herein lay, in fact, the main justification of the Capitalist System. If the rich had spent their new wealth on their own enjoyments, the world would long ago have found such a régime intolerable.”