Stats Chat on inequality

December 9th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats Chat does a gentle fisk of the Herald’s article on . They note:

Firstly, any comparison of money in 2006 to money in 2013 that’s not inflation-adjusted in some way is pretty pointless. The CPI went up 19% over that period.

Secondly, minimum wages are pretty obviously relevant. At the last Census, the minimum wage was $9.50; at this Census it was $13.50, a nominal increase of 42% and a real increase of  19%.

Their summary:

So, inequality in NZ is substantially higher than it used to be, and there are a lot of reasons to think this is bad, but the increase was in the 1980s and 1990s, not since 2006.  And this information is not hard to find.

I believe is the more important thing to measure than income inequality. Of course a 16 year old school leaver earns a lot less than a 45 year old executive. What is more important is whether those in the lower income deciles stay in them all their lives unable to break out and improve their income, or do you have .

The data for NZ is that we have a reasonable degree of social mobility, which I blogged on here. 74% of families in the bottom decile were not there seven years later.

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46 Responses to “Stats Chat on inequality”

  1. lolitasbrother (338 comments) says:

    Yes the socio/political compass is being screwed, and we must redistribute according to meaningless surveys.
    We must get a Government to believe and redistribute income

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  2. Nigel (503 comments) says:

    I agree on social mobility, but the income equality is a big issue also, the answer is not redistribution, but transparency, to be fair CEO price raises have leveled, but I also think the pope is right trickle down has not trickled down, so I think we need to evaluate tax rates, my take nz is about right at the moment, top tax rate is around 50% ( indirect plus direct plus rates ).
    Easy enough to argue higher gst numbers have helped actually, be an interesting graph income inequality in nz gst rates.

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  3. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    I believe social mobility is the more important thing to measure than income inequality. Of course a 16 year old school leaver earns a lot less than a 45 year old executive.

    There were 16 year old school leavers before the income gap increased. The survey was about inequality, not social mobility.

    It is about time the right realised that a big income gap is a major threat to a right wing system. We will end up sitting on a time bomb if it is not sorted out. NZ is already a left leaning country without adding fuel to the fire.

    We need to close the gaps. The only discussion should be about how we do it.

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  4. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    Yes, the lie that income inequality is increasing is repeated endlessly in the mainstream moron media with no journalist having the brain or integrity to bother checking the facts. They repeat each others nonsense.

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  5. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    There is a massive disparity between those who, through the disproportionate amount of wealth they wield, influence policy decisions which reinforce and exacerbate their personal fortunes and those in an increasingly large group that are the fodder on which the predatory elite feast. The domestic situation is so appalling that we are criticized by the U.N. for the amount of children we condemn to poverty.

    It is utterly disgusting, the wealthy are utterly disgusting.

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  6. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    the wealthy are utterly disgusting.

    Yoza. No we need them and want more of them.

    The problem is not people being too rich, it is some people being too poor. Making the rich less wealthy does not help the poor. I guess that you do not care just as long as everyone is poor.

    Envious commie arsehole.

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  7. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    I believe social mobility is the more important thing to measure than income inequality.

    That’s irrelevant since it’s well-known that the latter negatively affects the former. For example, it is common for wealthy parents to spend a lot of money on privately educating their children, providing them a competitive advantage that other children do not have, and it is also common for the middle classes to have “cultural capital” that poorer people just do not have. The effects of wealth have been exaggerated in recent decades because the values of alternative social “currencies” (ethnicity; gender; ancestry) have declined. For example, being born male used to be much more of a competitive advantage than it is today.

    Chris Hayes’ recent book Twilight of the Elites handily skewers the fiction of social mobility. What he doesn’t admit is that since there is always going to be inequality, it’s going to end up being fairly entrenched no matter what. All this wailing about social mobility and equality of opportunity is a smokescreen around that unpleasant fact.

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  8. shoreboy57 (116 comments) says:

    Poor journos. Working for crap salaries in a dying industry, No wonder they are always pushing for income distribution / job protection

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  9. Manolo (12,618 comments) says:

    It is utterly disgusting, the wealthy are utterly disgusting.

    You can almost see Yoza saying the above after seeing his pitiful account balance.
    No, comrade. What is lamentable is your inability to earn more due to your absolute lack of skills.

    Do not envy others just because you’re a loser in life.

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  10. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    It is utterly disgusting, the wealthy are utterly disgusting.

    Why complain? Human mass society has always been like this – it’s the iron law of oligarchy. There’s nothing you can do about it. I guess you could accept Horatio Alger myths or stories about the inevitability of communism, but they all serve do obscure the basic fact that human societies are intrinsically unfair.

    Making the rich less wealthy does not help the poor.

    Actually, up to a point it does. Inequality brings with it any number of social evils. Like most things in life, it’s a trade off.

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  11. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    It’s that Ko girl. She’s already increased income inequality in New Zealand.

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  12. NK (916 comments) says:

    There is inequality between John Key’s wealth and mine. Ergo, I am poor.

    Complete bullshit.

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  13. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Do not envy others just because you’re a loser in life.

    I do not envy the wealthy for the same reason the zebra does not envy the jackals it witnesses feasting on its brother.

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  14. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    Do not envy others just because you’re a loser in life.

    It’s a shame you don’t practice what you preach.

    It’s also a shame that people who spend 12 hour days working, don’t see their families, get divorced, have no real hobbies or tastes, don’t realise that they are the losers.

    Society will pay you an awful lot of money if you are willing to forgo a genuinely human life.

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  15. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Why complain? Human mass society has always been like this – it’s the iron law of oligarchy. There’s nothing you can do about it.

    If you fight you might win or you might lose; if you don’t fight you will lose.

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  16. NK (916 comments) says:

    I am actually very sorry Yoza that you believe wealthy people want to keep poor people poor so that the wealthy can keep or increase their wealth.

    I am not wealthy, but my family has a comfortable life. I know enough wealthy people though – some are filthy rich. And I can put my hand on my heart and say confidently and honestly that they don’t give a shit about their wealth now that they’ve made it. Of course they don’t want to lose it, that’s natural. All they want is for more people to “be like them”; to be wealthy so that they are less reliant on the State and others to get by. But most importantly, they want them to get there the same way they got there: education, hard work, thrift and strong family (not necessarily in that order).

    Giving people money has never, and can never, work.

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  17. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    So let’s just put this in perspective, the left are claiming that inequality has increased over the past few years, and at the same time the minimum wage has increased by 19% over inflation in the same period. I know correlation is not causation, but I’d want the left to perhaps pause and have a think about that. If what you’re doing is not working, why in the hell would more of it be better ?

    What I suggest is one cause for what we are seeing happen, is a cultural shift. It is becoming more and more widely socially acceptable to be what used to be called “a leech on societies back”. This is more powerful in some sectors of society than others, but you won’t be socially mobile if you don’t WANT to be socially mobile. When your aim is to get as much as you want on the back of a politicians promise to steal it from someone else, good jobs and the chance to get ahead is the last thing you want.

    Add to this the simple fact that as a politician, if your vote is concentrated amongst the low earners, thenif you crave political power (and which politician, of any stripe, doesn’t), then policies that actually help low income people to actually improve their lot are foolish; what you need are policies that bring others down (rich prick taxes) and above all, sound like you are doing “something” without actually achieving anything.

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  18. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    What I suggest is one cause for what we are seeing happen, is a cultural shift. It is becoming more and more widely socially acceptable to be what used to be called “a leech on societies back”

    You mean bankers, right?

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  19. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    All they want is for more people to “be like them”; to be wealthy so that they are less reliant on the State and others to get by

    Are they stupid or something?

    Wishing for everyone to be rich is like wishing for everyone to be a winner. Rich is a comparative term, and the main benefit of being wealthy is that it confers relative advantage in purchasing power.

    What you’re saying is about as dumb as saying that everyone should invest and nobody should be in debt.

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  20. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    “The domestic situation is so appalling that we are criticized by the U.N. for the amount of children we condemn to poverty.”

    Yes, we should stop their parents emigrating to NZ and stop those addicted to drugs and welfare from breeding.

    Oh, so you don’t want to stop the problem at source then, Yoza?

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  21. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    “Wishing for everyone to be rich is like wishing for everyone to be a winner.”

    Nonsense. It is wishing for our country to be able to afford good healthcare, education, a healthy environment and a welfare safety-net. As you state, rich is a relative term, but then you overlook the true implications.

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  22. alwyn (359 comments) says:

    “Of course a 16 year old school leaver earns a lot less than a 45 year old executive”.
    I know that some of our executives are grossly overpaid but I didn’t think it was that bad.
    Let’s see. Lydia Ko, a 16 year old school leaver, gets $181,000 for a weeks work.
    That works out at about $9 million for the year.
    I think there must be a flaw here somehow.

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  23. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Atta boy Alan, put the boot into them. That brown shirt fits you perfectly.

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  24. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    Actually the gap is not a problem for me in itself. I only get concerned when people do not have enough to reasonably live inspite of doing an honest weeks work.

    Unlike Yoza, I do not care what my neighbour is getting as long as I have enough.

    North Korea beckons Yoza, what are you waiting for >?

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  25. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    Nonsense. It is wishing for our country to be able to afford good healthcare, education, a healthy environment and a welfare safety-net. As you state, rich is a relative term, but then you overlook the true implications.

    We already have that, but that’s not what the original poster said, since s/he was talking about filthy rich people not those who have a “comfortable life”.

    Try reading more carefully. One of the reasons I have very little interest in anything you post is that you don’t properly read what other people post, and then go on to say silly, irrelevant things in response.

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  26. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    It’s also a shame that people who spend 12 hour days working, don’t see their families, get divorced, have no real hobbies or tastes, don’t realise that they are the losers.

    Society will pay you an awful lot of money if you are willing to forgo a genuinely human life.

    Tom, A good summary of the middle class dream.

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  27. OneTrack (1,957 comments) says:

    “Atta boy Alan, put the boot into them. That brown shirt fits you perfectly.”

    Leftie 101. The leftie is losing the argument and again starts tackling the person.

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  28. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    Actually the gap is not a problem for me in itself. I only get concerned when people do not have enough to reasonably live inspite of doing an honest weeks work.

    What counts as enough depends on what others in your society have. We don’t have absolute poverty or subsistence poverty in NZ, only relative poverty.

    For example, many NZers think that everyone should be able to afford a mobile phone or have internet access so not to be counted as poor. You aren’t going to die or get ill without these, so it’s hardly like they are necessities, yet people believe they are.

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  29. Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:

    Tom, A good summary of the middle class dream.

    They can’t see that they’re being had. Opportunity cost is a terrible thing.

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  30. wikiriwhis business (3,276 comments) says:

    As Bernard Hickey pointed out in the weekend, the on going fight against inflation during the during the 80′ 90′s and onward has been completely negated by a true fight that should be fought against deflation.

    The only reason our dollar is up is because of the Fed money printing that will never taper.

    As long as the dollar continues to be deflated by flooding the market with it, our dollar will rise in value
    as a riskless investment. Surely that bubble has just got to burst!

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  31. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    Tom, the problem is embedded in our economic system, which requires constant growth and consumerism in order to work. We are surrounded by labor saving devices, yet are working more and more.

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  32. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    @Tom, I read both your source and comment accurately. The Left are always wanting more but never want to do anything to pay for it – except tax their hated filthy rich. And they are never grateful.

    Actually it is you who grossly misrepresented your source, not me. Reportedly they wanted more people to become rich not everyone. The reason I take an interest in your comments is that you do write nonsense that needs correcting. You should pay me for improving your mind.

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  33. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    @Yoza, the rich give you jobs and pay for your socialist state. Evidently you only want the latter?

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  34. NK (916 comments) says:

    Are they stupid or something?

    Wishing for everyone to be rich is like wishing for everyone to be a winner. Rich is a comparative term, and the main benefit of being wealthy is that it confers relative advantage in purchasing power.

    What you’re saying is about as dumb as saying that everyone should invest and nobody should be in debt.

    No, they are not stupid. That is why they are well off, because they are intelligent.

    On your analysis you want the poor to remain so and for everyone to feel sorry for them.

    So much for you “caring” about them.

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  35. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    OneTrack (1,242 comments) says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    “Atta boy Alan, put the boot into them. That brown shirt fits you perfectly.”

    Leftie 101. The leftie is losing the argument and again starts tackling the person.

    The “Atta boy Alan, put the boot into them. That brown shirt fits you perfectly.” was in response to this outburst:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,768 comments) says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    “The domestic situation is so appalling that we are criticized by the U.N. for the amount of children we condemn to poverty.”

    Yes, we should stop their parents emigrating to NZ and stop those addicted to drugs and welfare from breeding.

    Oh, so you don’t want to stop the problem at source then, Yoza?

    Alan’s ‘final solution’ has been tried before. It is quite typical for extreme right-wing groups like the Nazis or the Fascists in the past and the US’s Tea Party or the Greek’s Golden Dawn of the present to pin societies problems on immigrants, homosexuals, gypsies, Jews, Muslims and assorted marginalised groups – I was commenting on Alan’s rush to join his ‘esteemed’ predecessors.

    Kea (9,366 comments) says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    North Korea beckons Yoza, what are you waiting for >?

    My family has been here for over eight hundred years, I’m not going anywhere.

    Alan Wilkinson (1,768 comments) says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    @Yoza, the rich give you jobs and pay for your socialist state. Evidently you only want the latter?

    There is no such thing as ‘rich people’ in a socialist state.

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  36. Manolo (12,618 comments) says:

    My family has been here for over eight hundred years, I’m not going anywhere.

    That explains it all.

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  37. southtop (257 comments) says:

    wow yoza, just wow – you obviously have not been to China lately

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  38. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    “My family has been here for over eight hundred years, I’m not going anywhere.”

    Did it ever occur to you that if your ancestors had that attitude you would not be here?

    “There is no such thing as ‘rich people’ in a socialist state.”

    You are fortunate never to have lived in such a state. You are even more fortunate to live in a time and place where many people have grown rich by providing the rest of us with great goods and services such that our lives are incomparably better than ever before in the past. You are unfortunate to have had such a dismal education and upbringing that you can neither comprehend your good fortune nor take proper advantage of it. For that you have my sympathy – tempered by the realisation you wish to do nothing to help yourself.

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  39. OneTrack (1,957 comments) says:

    Yoza – “There is no such thing as ‘rich people’ in a socialist state.”

    I think you mean, There is no such thing as ‘rich people’ in a communist state.

    But there are General Secretary, Secretary of the Party and Marshall of the Union, who somehow seem to have more than others. Not for them to be working in the fields.

    By the way, the Nazis were big state socialists, not right wing.

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  40. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    southtop (244 comments) says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    wow yoza, just wow – you obviously have not been to China lately

    China is more of a totalitarian state capitalist society.

    Alan Wilkinson (1,769 comments) says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    You are even more fortunate to live in a time and place where many people have grown rich by providing the rest of us with great goods and services such that our lives are incomparably better than ever before in the past.

    Rich people do not provide anyone with goods and services, all goods and services are the products of workers. The rich are suplurfluous to requirements.

    OneTrack (1,249 comments) says:
    December 9th, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    By the way, the Nazis were big state socialists, not right wing.

    The funny thing is that the same clowns who like to believe the Nazis and Fascists weren’t right wing are the same clowns who are so dogmatically warped they ate incapable of accepting the scientifically demonstrated reality of climate change as a consequence of anthropogenic global warming.

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  41. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    There is no such thing as ‘rich people’ in a socialist state.

    Bulllllllllllllshit !

    Corrupt party officials are plenty rich. Socialism just concentrates the wealth into a smaller elite. Many of the richest people in Russia were once “socialists” who plundered what little was left of the peoples wealth. It shows how socialist they really were.

    demonstrated reality of climate change

    Summer, Autumn, Winter & Spring :)

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  42. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    My family has been here for over eight hundred years, I’m not going anywhere.

    Yoza, you must be from that race that are too lazy to paddle back to shore and get carried along by the currents ?

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  43. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    “incapable of accepting the scientifically demonstrated reality of climate change as a consequence of anthropogenic global warming”

    What a tangle of misconceptions that demonstrates. First, you don’t demonstrate reality, you observe it. Second, global warming is climate change, not a cause of it. Third, no-one knows how much global warming is anthropogenic and how much is natural because the systems are too complex, the natural cycles are too long and the data is too short in timescale and too imprecise and lacking detail. Fourth, sceptics don’t deny global warming, they deny unjustified alarmism and ineffectual and grossly uneconomic responses.

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  44. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    “Rich people do not provide anyone with goods and services, all goods and services are the products of workers.”

    You know so little and presume so much. Try running a business with only workers. In fact, just try running a business. It will be a whole new education for you, and one you sorely need.

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  45. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    From the tone of your response, Alan, it is obvious you are not a worker – noone who physically works for a living and is in possession of a backbone would supply such a craven comment.

    As for your other nonsense, climate change is the direct result of anthropogenic global warming, anyone reading the peer reviewed scientific research on the subject would understand the experts are in almost unanimous agreement that humans are responsible and the consequences are more dire and immediate than the establishment, through the media, is prepared to admit. The only effective option open to humanity is to stop spewing so much co2 into the atmosphere.

    That’s just how it is, Al.

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  46. Alan Wilkinson (1,798 comments) says:

    Yoza, more utter ignorance. I have worked in various ways all my life and continue to do so. From doing the beds and laundry in our holiday house to spraying gorse, wiring, plumbing, designing, computer programming, truck driving, writing, investing, accounting, gardening, cooking, employing … I bet I have done more kinds of work in the last year than you could dream of in your worst nightmare.

    As for climate change, you merely regurgitate the opinions of others – mostly equally ignorant and opinionated. The data does not support the alarmist models and that collision with reality has doomed your cause.

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