What’s economic inequality?
The term inequality is thrown around a lot but in all sorts of different contexts. In general, economic inequality is an uneven distribution of something – from incomes, resources, goods and states of being through to people’s opportunities to do things, such as to vote in an election or to take care of a child.
The Gini-coefficient: How do we measure inequality?
Measuring inequality is tricky, because it depends on how we define equality, and on what unit we’re using to measure it. It’s not just about levels of income – it’s about other forms of wealth, and about access to opportunity and social mobility as well.
Is inequality really a problem?
So, inequality exists, within communities, within regions, and worldwide… but is this really an issue that economics needs to deal with? Isn’t that already making a value judgement about whether it’s a good or bad thing for society to be equal or unequal?
Trickle-down economics: Does wealth redistribute itself?
Although wealth redistribution is the most common way to tackle inequality, some economists question whether we need to dig a little deeper and question why wealth was so unequally distributed in the first place. Others disagree, saying wealth will flow from the top down, and structural changes can only cause chaos.