"The U.S. itself also has the largest gap and inequality between rich and poor compared to all the other industrialized nations. For example, the top 1% receives more money than the bottom 40% and the gap is the widest in 70 years. Furthermore, in the last 20 years while the share of income going to the top 1% has increased, it has decreased for the poorest 40%.
""The gap between rich and poor has grown in more than three-quarters of rich countries since the mid-1980s, according to a study of income inequality and poverty by the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) released in October 2008. In addition, the study finds that the economic growth of recent decades has benefited the rich more than the poor."However, amongst those 30 countries, results are mixed. The study finds, for example, that the past five years saw growing poverty and inequality in two-thirds of OECD countries. Canada, Germany, Norway and the United States are the most affected. The remaining third—particularly Greece, Mexico and the United Kingdom—have seen a shrinking gap between rich and poor since 2000.
As summarized by an OECD briefing , the income of the richest 10% of people is, on average across OECD countries, nearly nine times that of the poorest 10%.The average hides large variations. For example the top 3 countries with the highest income gaps are:1.Mexico, where the richest have incomes of more than 25 times those of the poorest 2.Turkey, where the ratio is 17 to 1 3.USA, where the ratio is 16 to 1 Portugal and Poland also have large gaps, making it the top 5, but their gaps are not as large as those first three. (For many years, the US was regarded as having the largest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nations, but the group of industrialized nations has slightly grown since to include Mexico and Turkey—also the two poorest OECD countries—amongst others.).
""Summarizing from the works of the Institute for Economic Democracy:
•The old European city states, which were centers of wealth, would control their countryside as the source of their resources and production, and hence, the source of their wealth. If the countryside became more efficient and produced better, or threatened to trade with other neighboring cities, this would be seen as a threat to the wealth, power and influence of the city. These peripheries would therefore be raided and their means of production would be destroyed.
•The cities would fight over each other for similar reasons.
•For continual support, those rulers would proclaim various reasons to their people, of maintaining security and so on (not unlike what we hear today about national security). Even some laws were established that basically allow these practices.
•A strong military was therefore necessary (just as it is today) to ensure those trade advantages were unfairly maintained.
•Those European city states evolved into nation states and imperial powers, and the countryside expanded to include today’s “third world”, which was much of the rest of the world. The discovery of the Americas, expansion of trade routes etc brought much wealth to these “centers of empire” which helped fuel the industrial revolution, which required even more resources and wealth to be appropriated, to continue this growth. Mass “luxury” consumption in Europe expanded as well as a result of the increased production from the industrial revolution. But this had a further negative impact on the colonized nations, the “country side”, or the resource-providers. (See the behind consumption and consumerism section on this site, for more about how this impacted much of the world in different ways as mass consumerism also resulted from the industrial revolution.)
•As with the previous wars throughout Europe’s rise, World War I and II were also battles amongst the various European empires who struggled over each other to control more of the world’s resources and who would “decide the rules of unequal trade”. Except for religious conflicts and the petty wars of feudal lords, wars are primarily fought over resources and trade. President Woodrow Wilson recognized that this was the cause of World War I: “Is there any man, is there any woman, let me say any child here that does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry?” — J.W. Smith, Economic Democracy: The Political Struggle for the Twenty-First Century, (M.E. Sharpe, 2000, 1st Edition), p.58"http://www.globalissues.org/article/4/poverty-around-the-world#globalissues-org