Sunday, September 18, 2011

Revolt bubbling along

What is the correlation, if any, of income disparity to rebellion, revolution, insurgency and civil society unrest? We can look at a map of the world by color-coded representations of income inequality (Gini coefficient) and say--what? That it is a factor, but not the dispositive variable.
China and the US have more income inequality than the other northern temperate nations, from Canada to Kazakhstan (and Australia). Indeed, China and the US are more unequal, internally, than India, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan or Algeria, never mind northern and western Europe. Clearly, this factor is only one contributory cause of social upheaval, not the one that decides the fate of a nation.

Still, dissatisfaction is increasing alongside poverty, homelessness and foreclosures and unemployment in the US. Looking at the list of how the most well off 10 percent of a nation's populace by income compares with the poorest 10 percent by income, the US is very unequal, and in fact places right between Nepal and Cote d'Ivore, two nations experiencing violent revolution very recently. Increasing nonviolence trainings and education is a prescribed inoculant from now on.

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