Topical Discussion 6: Global Inequalities

inequality is a defining feature of civilization. It seems to be a common feature of the modern world, too, and a subject of perennial debate is whether or not industrialization and globalization have made the world more equal or less. We are not going to attempt to resolve that debate in this discussion. Instead, we will look at various dimensions of inequality in today’s world and discuss how they have been changing in recent decades. There are two parts to this assignment which you should address in separate discussion posts below.
Part A: incomes
Inequality is not strictly economic, and economic inequality is not strictly limited to official measurements of personal income. Nonetheless, looking at income inequality is still a good place to start. There are two steps for this part of the assignment:
Read the following two online publications:Branko Milanovic, “Why the Global 1% and the Asian Middle Class Have Gained the Most from Globalization,” Harvard Business Review (13 May 2016)
Max Roser, “Global Economic Inequality,”Our World in Data (2013)

In 250 words or less, summarize how the world is becoming more equal and how the world is becoming less equal in the economic terms of personal income.
Part B: other social-economic dimensions
Only one-third of the United Nations Human Development Index is based on personal income. The other two-thirds focus on education and health, and even with those other two areas included, the HDI gives us an incomplete picture of social-economic development around the world. There are three steps for this part of the assignment:
Test yourself with the World View Upgrader by Gapminder. The Upgrader includes more than five dozen questions related to the Global Goals. You do not need to answer all of them, nor does it matter if you get the correct answers. Rather than a true test of knowledge, the questions are designed to get us thinking about the state of the world and global inequalities. Without suggesting that the world is free from problems, the Upgrader (and the Gapminder organization in general) strives to fight widespread pessimism and misperceptions that things are more dire than they really are. Progress is possible, and progress is happening.
Choose just one of the Upgrader’s questions—one that piques your interest—and investigate the issue associated with the question a bit more deeply. After you answer each question, the website will tell you if you selected the correct answer. It also will include a link to learn more about the question and issue. Click on that “More” link, and read the additional information provided.
In 250 words or less, summarize what you have learned about the specific question/issue you have chosen and how you think we should be more optimistic or pessimistic about the prospects for progress in that area.
The information provided on the World View Upgrader website should be enough to complete this part of the assignment. But if you would like to take a deeper dive, you may find any of the following to be helpful:
United Nations Development Programme, including its annual Human Development Report
the World Bank’s World Development Indicators
Our World in Data’s Short History of Global Living Conditions
additional interactive tools from Gapminder

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