what are gini coefficients?

Patrick Bond pbond at wn.apc.org
Fri Aug 18 23:40:30 PDT 2000

> From: "J. Barkley Rosser, Jr." <rosserjb at jmu.edu>
> There are very big differences in the
> degree of income inequality around the world. Brazil
> (and South Africa, not on Branko's list) really are much
> more unequal than Slovakia.

SA recently overtook Brazil as #1 major country in inequality *before income transfers from the state.* I think that becomes a crucial component of the discussion. The ANC inherited from the Boers a "socialism for whites" and is proceeding to destroy it, largely through World Bank-designed, means-tested and generally ineffectual state social service programmes that, in many cases, do more harm than good. But one residual that makes life just barely survivable in the rural areas of SA, is a pension grant of US$70 per month, which is used to support quite vast kinship networks. The real value of the pension grant is slipping. But it's the one little inheritance, now deracialised, from apartheid that has mitigated the day-to-day economic terror of intensified class apartheid.

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