Beyond COVID-19: Addressing Inequality by Pivoting from Crisis to New Opportunities
Webinars Brief 53:2021
Publication Year : 2021

The webinar has started with an interesting question: whether you like to be poor in a rich country or rich in a poor country. Everyone stated their own opinions such as one of the participants said being rich in a poor country, one has relatively better purchasing power while being poor in a rich country is a difficult life. On the contrary, one of the commentators believed that being poor in a rich country is comparatively better because the infrastructure of a rich country would be robust and the health care would be better even if you are poor. Another young man claimed that it is relative poverty that matters so it is preferable to be poor in a rich country because you would feel more secure in this way rather than being rich in a poor country would always be challenging in terms of being pointed out and rent-seeking. You would be better off being poor in a rich country if you simply thought of welfare as income or even adjusting for the cost of living and for purchasing power parity. If we take a poor country like Nigeria as an example; Niger is the income share of the top 5 percent accounted for 21 percent with an adjusted purchasing power parity income of about 4,000 for someone who is in the top 5 percent of Niger. On the other hand, if you are in Norway, even if you are poor in the bottom 5 percent, you will still be earning about five times as much as you would if you were Niger. The difference between countries and within countries is enormous due to the stark difference between countries and income even the bottom of a rich country is substantially higher than the top of a poor country. Interestingly, this story is not true in the case of the USA, if we replace Norway with the USA, the bottom 5 percent in the USA are worse off than the top 5 percent in Nigeria. Hence, it depends on which country you are talking about, like Norway is a country where there is less inequality than the USA.

Edited by Hafsa Hina, Design by Afzal Balti.