20 Mar

More equality does not always mean low economic growth

As America pursues more and more inequality as a matter of policy (it’s an article of deep faith among certain people that inequity sucks, but it’s the price we pay for overall being so dynamic and making so much money that there’s more opportunity), it’s worth remembering that many of the most powerful per-capita earning countries (northern-Europe) are focused on this *and* succeeding:

“Singapore has had the distinction of having prioritized social and economic equity while achieving very high rates of growth over the past 30 years — an example par excellence that inequality is not just a matter of social justice but of economic performance. Societies with fewer economic disparities perform better — not just for those at the bottom or the middle, but over all.

It’s hard to believe how far this city-state has come in the half-century since it attained independence from Britain, in 1963. (A short-lived merger with Malaysia ended in 1965.) Around the time of independence, a quarter of Singapore’s work force was unemployed or underemployed. Its per-capita income (adjusted for inflation) was less than a tenth of what it is today.

There were many things that Singapore did to become one of Asia’s economic ‘tigers,’ and curbing inequalities was one of them. The government made sure that wages at the bottom were not beaten down to the exploitative levels they could have been.”

(Via Singapore’s Lessons for an Unequal America – NYTimes.com.)