South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, has promised $125bn of extra social spending over five years, hoping to fulfil campaign pledges to address growing inequality. The FT’s Simon Mundy reports from Seoul.
The Brics grouping of countries is starting to generate some interesting conversations of its own. Last week, I was in Durban, chairing a discussion between academics and activists from South Africa and Brazil ahead of the Brics summit later this month. The topic? ‘Tackling inequality across Brics’. Continue reading »
Critics of lotteries the world over often describe them as taxes on the poor, and for good reason. From the US to Spain, lower-income citizens are the biggest buyers of lottery tickets, and, as a group, they will lose at least 35 per cent of what they spend.
In China, though, it is more accurate to describe the lottery as a tax on hope. Those buying tickets tend to earn more than average, but they have run into the chasm that is China’s wealth gap and see the lottery as their best bridge across it. Continue reading »
In 2009, G20 leaders proclaimed: “The era of banking secrecy is over.” They pledged to close down secrecy jurisdictions that enabled banks to take risks off their balance sheets and allowed wealthy companies and individuals to evade tax.
It was an empty pledge, according to a weekend report by former McKinsey chief economist James Henry, and it is costing emerging market governments a lot of money. Continue reading »
World leaders will have much more on their plates than the traditional G20 banquet when they meet in Los Cabos this week.
For many, the G20’s job will have been done if economic meltdown in Europe is averted and the rest of the world spared the consequences. Oxfam – which was formed in 1942 in response to the hardship faced by Greeks during the wartime blockade – is anxious to see leaders take concerted action to reduce the suffering of people across the continent who bear no responsibility for the current crisis. Continue reading »
Call it life imitating art. Three years after Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire was crowned Best Picture at the Oscars, a 27-year-old man from one of India’s poorest states has enacted his own poor-boy-makes-good inspirational story. But the story highlights a new Indian problem – what to do with sudden wealth. Continue reading »
Beyondbrics loves nothing more than a bit of myth-busting. So a research note on Tuesday by Renaissance Capital debunking the notion that Russia is a society of rich playboy oligarchs surrounded by poor workers certainly caught the eye.
Russia, in fact, is only marginally more unequal than China and India, and far better placed than Brazil. Continue reading »
Nigeria may be a country plagued by corruption, violence and pockets of deep poverty but it’s also home to the largest middle class in Africa.
And that middle class, of some 37m people, is ready to spend. According to an opinion poll carried out for Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank, more than 9m of them plan to buy a microwave in the next 12 months and more than 8m plan to buy a washing machine. Manufacturers take note. Continue reading »
Amid spectacular economic growth, Indian efforts to combat the country’s devastating poverty have largely failed. That’s one reason why the Indian government has decided to take a stab at redefining the very definition of the word “poverty”.
In a move widely derided by social scientists and NGOs, India’s main planning commission on Tuesday filed an affidavit with the country’s Supreme Court to update the country’s poverty line, the Economic Times reported. Continue reading »
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