CHART OF THE DAY: China Catches Up To The US In One Embarrassing Way

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The high-level of inequality in the US is becoming a big, salient political issue that actually threatens the status of elites.

The bad news for China: As of 2008, it’s already caught up to the US on this measure.

In his presentation on the threats to the Chinese economy, hedge funder Wu Zhijian of Woodsford Capital Management Pte. Ltd. puts up this chart of Gini coefficients across key countries.

For those that don’t know, the GIni Coefficient is a crude way of measuring inequality (You can see the maths behind it here). The basic idea is that on a scale of 0-100, 0 would represent a country where everyone had identical amounts of money, and 100 would represent a world in which just one person had all the money and everyone else had nothing.

Anyway, Brazil is actually lapping the field on this front, putting everyone to shame in terms of inequality.

But the US and China are at the same level.

And if wealth inequality here is causing social schisms, as rich as we are, you can imagine how the low-end Chinese feel in this world of rapid growth and exploding wealth.

chart of the day, world gini coefficient, oct 2011

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