chapter  6
42 Pages

Wealth, Poverty, and Inequality

Like a dumbbell, the global distribution of income is strikingly bifurcated. In the year 2011, 70 percent of the world’s population lived in countries with average per capita incomes (PPP) below $7,500 per year while 14 percent resided in countries with average per capita incomes (PPP) exceeding $26,000 per year. Only 1 percent of the world’s population lived in countries with average per capita income (PPP) falling between $17,000 and $26,000. Robert Wade has referred to this as the “missing middle.”1 This level of international social and economic inequality is historically unprecedented. Before the past century, living standards had never diverged so widely across different countries and regions of the world.