Het tijdperk van de kwetsbaarheid

NEW YORK – Twee nieuwe studies laten weer eens de omvang van het ongelijkheidsprobleem dat de Verenigde Staten plaagt zien. De eerste, het jaarlijkse inkomens- en armoederapport van het US Census Bureau, laat zien dat, ondanks het vooronderstelde herstel van de economie uit de recessie, de inkomens van gewone Amerikanen blijven stagneren. Het gemiddelde inkomen van huishoudens, aangepast aan de inflatie, blijft beneden het niveau van 25 jaar geleden.

Men dacht vroeger dat de grootste Amerikaanse kracht niet zijn militaire macht was, maar een economisch systeem waar de hele wereld jaloers op was. Maar waarom zouden anderen proberen een economisch model te evenaren waarin een groot deel van de bevolking (een meerderheid zelfs) zijn inkomen heeft zien stagneren terwijl de inkomens aan de top naar boven geschoten zijn?

Een tweede studie, het Human Development Report 2014 van het Verenigde Naties-Ontwikkelingsprogramma (UNDP) bevestigt deze uitkomsten. Elk jaar publiceert het UNDP een ranglijst van landen op basis van hun Human Development Index (HDI), die behalve inkomen andere dimensies van welvaart meeneemt, waaronder gezondheid en onderwijs.

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