In this article, we will take a look at countries with high income equality and ask the question: Does high income equality lead to a better standard of living?
I recently wrote an article about socialism in Sweden. With Barack Obama trying to implement higher taxes on the rich, the arch-conservative Fox News threatened that we would become the next “socialist Sweden” if this were to happen.
I found this to be a bit of an empty threat given that Sweden always tops the list of countries with the highest standard of living. In actuality, Sweden is not a socialist state and in many respects exemplifies a more capitalist bent than we have. What a shocker-Fox News lied!
In writing this article about Sweden, I came across two graphs that are quite telling.
First, as I was investigating the quality of life in Sweden, I was led to the map you see below depicting countries with the highest quality of life (map courtesy of Maps of the World).
Countries with the Highest Quality of Life
One of the reasons that Swedes as a whole enjoy a high quality of life is that they have a very high-level of social services. This also means that people pay a lot of income taxes. However, further questions led me to wonder about income equality.
In the U.S., we often hear that the gap between the rich and poor is significant. In fact, USA Today reports that the “income gap between rich and poor Americans grew to the widest amount on record and represents the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.”
I wondered then how income equality factors into quality of life for a country and the results surprised me. Take a look at the map below.
Income Equality By Country
In the map above, the countries in green represent the countries with the highest income equality. As you can see, the countries with the highest income equality nearly mirror the graph above of those countries with the highest standard of living.
What does all this mean? I let you draw your own conclusions, but it is worth asking: Should the CEO make more in one day than an employee makes in an entire year?
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