Wednesday, August 05, 2015

16. The GINI Index under PNoy vs. The World

The GINI Index is the measure of income inequality in a country. If the index is 0, there is perfect equality. If the index is 100, there is perfect inequality. I have been waiting for this index to come up in political discussions, but sadly all we have, on one hand, is the leftist cliche of the inverted pyramid, which I've always thought to be mostly agitation propaganda.  And on the other hand, we have the GDP trumpeters, to whom the academics argue that GDP fails to measure the qualitative effects on the general population. So here it is the GINI index -- the measure of how income is divided among the population. The data show no country with a perfect 0, which means there is no absolute equality on earth. Neither is there any country with a 100 index, dictators and their cronies notwithstanding.  Perhaps, we can benchmark ourselves with other countries? South Africa's index is 65. Canada? 33.7. No wonder, most of my relatives are there. Mexico? 47.2 The US? 41. And the Philippines, 43. Not bad at all, considering that Brazil has 52.7.  Click here for the complete data from the World Bank.  I'm not an Aquino apologist. But the index is what it is. From 2010 to 2014, our GINI index shows more than half of the country shared its income. No inverted pyramid. Thus, even if PNoy has been the darling of big business, big business has not been the exclusive beneficiary of income in this country. Of course, we should aim for a lower index, but now we're better than Brazil and Mexico and just a little behind the US.  And look at that curious thing - Cambodia 31.8. I'm sure the GINI Index has limitations. In basketball, you can have thirty points and still lose the game. Thus, statistics like this should be analyzed with other tools. Yet, the GINI Index should not be left out in the debate, especially if you have a Vice President saying more people are getting poorer as a campaign premise, and you know he's lying.

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