Monday, July 28, 2014

Weird Expression of the Week: Gini Coefficient

The Gini coefficient is a standard measure of inequality among the residents of a country. According to Wikipedia, it was developed by Corrado Gini, an Italian statistician, and first published in "Variability and Mutability," in 1912.

If a country has a Gini coefficient of zero, its residents are completely equal economically. As the coefficient approaches 1, this indicates increasing inequality.

This matters because, according to a review (by Nicholas Kristof) of Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," the U.S. "now has a Gini coefficient ... approaching some traditionally poor and dysfunctional Latin countries."

Great.  In addition, Kristof notes, "equal opportunity is now a mirage. Indeed, researchers find that there is less economic mobility in America than in class-conscious Europe."

Madame L will be reading the Picketty book when it becomes available at her local library, where  she has placed a hold on it.... Even though it's 685 pages long. Or maybe Madame L will read a few more summaries and reviews like that written by Kristof. 

You're welcome.


AskTheGeologist said...

Yes! Picketty has put numbers on what has truly become a troubling trend in our great nation. A nation that as you say is growing characteristics of a dysfunctional Latin American country... or like Rome around 400AD.

It all comes down to greed and sociopathic behavior by people who have weaseled their way into becoming corporate CEOs and hedge fund managers.

NO one among them seems to realize that you can't take those billions with you when you die.

AskTheGeologist said...

...and meanwhile our country is getting more and more messed up as the hard-working poor not only get nowhere in life, but economically slide backwards.

People from McDonald's to first-rate universities are paying people the minimum wage of $7.25/hour. NO one can live off that. NO one can contribute to a growing economy from that.