La caída de la movilidad ascendente

NUEVA YORK – La preocupación por la desigualdad económica está en el aire, casi en todas partes. El problema no es la desigualdad entre países, que en realidad ha disminuido durante las últimas décadas, en gran parte gracias a las mayores tasas de crecimiento y expectativas de vida en muchos países emergentes (especialmente en China e India). Por el contrario, el foco hoy día está en la desigualdad –a veces llamada disparidad del ingreso– al interior de los países.

Un motivo es que el problema de la desigualdad es real, y está empeorando en muchos lugares. En las últimas décadas, la riqueza y el ingreso se han concentrado más en la cima –el así llamado 1 %– mientras que los ingresos reales y niveles de vida de los pobres y la clase media se han estancado o han caído en muchos países desarrollados.

Esto era así antes de la erupción de la crisis financiera mundial en 2008, pero la crisis y sus repercusiones (incluidos los elevados y prolongados niveles de desempleo) han empeorado las cosas. A pesar de unas pocas excepciones notables en el norte de Europa y partes de Latinoamérica, el aumento de la desigualdad ha afectado tanto al mundo desarrollado como a los países en desarrollo.

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