Should Development Focus On Growth Or Inequality Economics Essay

Should development concentrate on growing or inequality? Until this twenty-four hours and age, economic experts are still debating the reply to this really of import inquiry. There are two statements refering this argument. The first statement provinces that inequality is ineluctable and portion of the growing procedure. Rather than concentrating on contracting the income spread, authorities should concentrate on bettering the well being of people. On the other manus, the 2nd statement provinces that a policy concentrating on inequality will take to economic growing.

Income inequality can be explained by the uneven distribution of income among families in an country. In the instance where merely a limited figure of people receive most of entire income high degrees of income inequality will be apparent ( University of Washington, 2008 )

Economic growing is a procedure by which a state ‘s wealth additions over clip. One of the most widely used steps of economic growing is the GDP ( Gross Domestic Product ) , which is the entire value of goods and services produced in an economic system during a specific period ( Amadeo, 2009 ) .

Measuring income inequality

A common manner of exemplifying income distributions within a state is by building a Lorenz curve. A Lorenz curve is a diagram demoing the cumulative per centum of national income received by a certain per centum of persons or families ( Penn State University, 2008: 2 ) .A This curve can be derived by set uping the population from the poorest to the wealthiest. The perfect equality line shows the income distributions in a state of affairs of perfect income equality. The farther off the Lorenz curve is from the perfect equality line, the more unequal the income distributions are.

Beginning: Penn State University

The gini coefficient can be calculated by the country between the perfect equity line and Lorenz curve, divided by the country underneath the perfect equity line. The gini coefficient is the standard step of income inequality. It has a value runing between nothing and one. The closer a state ‘s value is to one, the more unequal the income distribution of that state is said to be. South Africa ‘s gini Coefficient has ever ranged between 0.60 and 0.64, but during recent old ages it has increased up to 0.69 ( Bhorat & A ; van der Westhuizen, 2005:11 ) . This is an indicant that South Africa ‘s growing procedure is presenting lifting degrees of inequality.


Gini Index

South Africa






United States




United Kingdom




Beginning: Cardinal Intelligence Agency.

The relationship between income inequality and growing

The idea of equal income distributions dates back to economic experts such as Karl Marx. Karl Marx said that a society can be divided into capitalists and workers. The capitalists use workers in order to bring forth net incomes for themselves. This leads to conflicting state of affairss between groups due to unfairness and income inequality. Severe confrontation between groups may finally take a communist phase. The terminal consequences will be maximization of public assistance and there will be no income inequality within communism. Qi Su stated that this theory implies that economic growing would be sustained with a rigorous equal distribution ” ( Su, 2001:3 ) .

Simon Kuznets developed a theory which suggests that as growing takes topographic point in an economic system, income inequality will decline and so better once more. This hypothesis came to be known as the “ inverted-U ” Kuznets curve ( Aghion, Caroli, Garcia-Penalosa, 1999: 1616 ) . It can be illustrated as follows:




Gross national income per capita

Gini Coefficient



In most instances the initial addition in inequality is concentrated towards the modern industrial sectors. Owners, directors and workers in those sectors reap the benefits, but it takes clip for the growing to distribute to other sectors in the economic system. As the growing so spreads to the economic system, inequality diminutions.

States such as Taiwan, South Korea, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka ( Todaro, 2009: 228 ) illustrated that higher income degrees and growing can be accommodated by cut downing inequality. However, developed states in Western Europe do n’t back up the Kuznets curve. This information found on Western Europe indicates that inequality declines as states get richer, but after a certain degree of richness inequality starts to increase ( Georgiou, 2010: 2 ) . The form of Western Europe ‘s Kuznets curve will look as follows:

Beginning: Georgiou, 2010:9

Gary Fields, a professor of labour economic sciences, specified two distinguishable instances for economic growing. First he surveies a instance for traditional sector growing, followed by a instance of modern sector growing ( Fields, 1980 ) .

In a traditional sector growing policy workers from the traditional sector will have most of the benefits from growing, and the modern-sector will have really small growing. Growth policies in this sector will ensue in more equal income distributions, and do the Lorenz curve to switch upwards and closer to the perfect equality line.

On the other manus, when looking at growing policies in the modern sector benefits will travel to workers in the modern sector. Workers in traditional sectors will stay at their current income degrees, ensuing in an addition in the income spread between rich and hapless. As a consequence of this growing policy the Lorenz curve will switch farther off from the perfect equality line and inequality will increase.

Inequality and growing in the universe

The informations shown in the tabular array below contains information sing Brazils ‘ income distributions and economic growing, for the old ages 2005 to 2006.

Income held by

lowest 20 %

Income held by

highest 20 %

GDP Growth

( Annual % )


2.9 %

60.0 %

3.2 %


3.0 %

59.5 %

4.0 %


3.0 %

58.7 %

5.7 %

Beginning: World Bank, World Bank Indicators.

From the tabular array it is clear that as growing increased, income held by the lowest 20 % increased and income held by the highest 20 % decreased. It is apparent that in this instance the income spread decreased with a policy concentrating on economic growing.

The same can be observed for Mexico:

Income held by lowest 20 %

Income held by highest 20 %

GDP Growth ( Annual % )


4.5 %

51.0 %

4.0 %


4.6 %

53.3 %

4.8 %


3.8 %

56.4 %

1.8 %

Beginning: World Bank, World Development Indicators.

Growth in Mexico showed a important lessening from 2004 to 2006. By looking at the per centums of income held by the lowest and highest 20 % of the state it is apparent that income inequality increased. In this specific instance, a lessening in the state ‘s economic growing resulted in the hapless going poorer and the rich richer.

From the old ages 1820 up to 1992 growing policies in China and India contributed towards a lessening in within-country inequality. This can be shown by the undermentioned graph:

Beginning: World Development Report 2006

In the illustrations discussed above, income inequality in developing and developed states increased when there was an equal growing policy in topographic point.

Inequality and growing in South Africa

Sixteen old ages after democracy, South Africa still has some of the highest degrees of income inequality in the universe ( Landman 2003:3 ) . Since 1994 the sum of people populating in poorness has n’t changed significantly. On the contrary, the income spread between rich and hapless has widened, intending that the hapless has sunk deeper into poorness.

The “ income and outgo of families ” is published every five old ages by Statistics South Africa ; it draws up comparings refering income, outgo and inequality within families. The undermentioned information was taken for the period 2005/2006:

A skewed distribution of income within South Africa is apparent from this graph. The top 10 % and the bottom 90 % of the population is each accountable for 50 % of household income. This places on accent on the fact that redistribution of income is necessary in South Africa.

The undermentioned graph is a representation of one-year GDP growing in South Africa adjusted for rising prices and expressed as a per centum, for the old ages 2000 – 2009.











Beginning: Index Mundi

From the graph it is apparent that although growing is fluctuating at that place has been a important addition in economic growing. This is the consequence of a focal point on growing policy over the past 10 old ages.

Redistribution policies

Francois Bourguignon, senior frailty president and main economic expert of the World Bank, showed that a alteration in inequality is a map of growing, distribution and the alteration in distribution. He stated that in order for the initial distribution to make the new distribution it has to travel through an intermediate measure. This measure is the horizontal motion to swerve ( I ) , which represents economic growing without any alteration to the distribution of income. The motion from curve ( I ) to the new distribution occurs at changeless average income, stand foring the alteration in the distribution of income. This shows that redistribution of income ca n’t take to lower income inequality, unless it addresses economic growing foremost ( Bourguignon, 2004:6 ) . This is illustrated by the undermentioned figure:

Beginning: Bourguignon, 2004:7


Success in cut downing inequality depends on economic growing, but besides on the ability to transform resources into basic services. I believe that the authorities has a cardinal function to play in stimulating economic growing. This can be done by the redistribution of resources, particularly towards instruction, employment and wellness.

In South Africa the higher your income bracket, the higher the per centum of your income is paid as revenue enhancement. This is shown in the tabular array below incorporating South Africa ‘s revenue enhancement brackets. Once income revenue enhancements are received by the authorities, some of it will be redistributed towards inducements which will increase growing. By redistributing this money towards instruction, employment and societal grants, the authorities will be able to increase growing in all sectors and cut down income inequality.

Brackets 2010/2011



% Change

18 % rate

R132 000

R140 000

6.06 %

R25A 200 + 25 % of income over R140 000

R210 000

R 221 000

5.24 %

R45A 450 + 30 % of income over R221 000

R290 000

R305 000

5.17 %

R70A 650 + 35 % of income over R305 000

R410 000

R431 000

5.12 %

R114A 750 + 38 % of income over R431 000

R525 000

R552 000

5.14 %

R160A 730 + 40 % of income over R552 000

R525 001

R552 001

5.14 %

Beginning: The Citizen, 18 February 2010, p.3

From informations found on Nation Master ‘s web site it is found that persons over the age of 15 on norm merely receive 6.1 old ages of formal schooling. Government should concentrate on supplying educational services to kids in rural and urban countries in order for persons to get necessary accomplishments and cognition. It should be noted that authorities should non merely increase the measure of instruction, but more significantly the quality delivered. The 2010 budget makes proviso for R165.1bn to be spent on instruction, a 10.9 % addition from last twelvemonth. This is how the money will be allocated:

Amount Allocated

Addition from last twelvemonth

Basic instruction


11.8 %

Education disposal


-0.6 %

FET & A ; adult instruction


5.3 %

Third instruction


12.4 %

Beginning: Fiscal Mail, 19 February 2010, page 30.

In order for these persons to set their freshly acquired cognition and accomplishments to the trial, authorities should besides concentrate on providing employment chances. A pay subsidy for immature people will be imposed in order to diminish youth unemployment. The authorities programs to pass an estimated R52bn on this programme, and it will make about 4,5 million occupations.

By concentrating on instruction and unemployment, a lessening in offense and an addition in overall wellness will be observed. Most likely it would besides be observed that adult females of poorer beginnings wo n’t hold every bit many kids, doing population growing to increase at a slower gait. Ultimately it would besides take to an addition in income of hapless people, doing income inequality to diminish.

The authorities wellness budget increased by 6.8 % to R104.6bn. This money will be spent on, inter alia, HIV/Aids, TB interventions and wellness and infirmary services ( Planting, 2010:31 ) . A survey published in the April 2009 issue of Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine showed that hapless wellness impacts profitableness and undercuts the state ‘s over-all productiveness ( Miller, 2009:1 ) .

An excess R9.4bn is allocated towards societal grants. About 14-million South Africans is presently profiting from societal grants ( Kahn, 2010: 7 ) . State old pensions and disablement grants will lift by R70 up to R1080. Child support grants will lift by R10 up to R250 ( The Citizen, 2010:3 ) . These grants will assist cut down unequal income distributions by giving more money to the hapless.

I came to the decision that policy should concentrate on growing and redistribution. Gradually it should so be observed that income inequality reduces. By concentrating on a growing policy, one is non merely lending to the wellbeing of persons, but besides on the productiveness and income of the population as a whole.