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(Róbinson Rojas Sandford)(1998)

Economic, cultural-religious and political relations lead to unequal
access to resources among social groups. In the case of industrialized
societies, the market system leads to economic inequalities, and
cultural and racist attitudes create instances of social exclusion
where non-white people and women became the overwhelming majority of
the poor. (See BOX 1) In less developed societies, cultural-religious
variables condemn women to a secondary role in society, which, added to
racial intolerance, create a mirror image of social exclusion as the one
taking place in industrialized societies. (See BOX 2)

(see UNCTAD: The Trade and Development Report,1997 (press release 1) 
     UNCTAD: The Trade and Development Report,1997 (press release 2) 
     UNCTAD: Human Development Report 1996, Second Chapter)

Today, when globalization is sending the dynamics of capitalist market
to every corner of planet earth, the creation of poverty and wealth as
an outcome of capitalist competition is at its peak.

Consider the case of a very efficient capitalist market: the British.

From Social Trends 18, 1988, the figures for distribution of original
household income:

                        UNITED KINGDOM
               Quintile groups of households
                Bottom  Next  Middle Next  Top   Total
                 fifth  fifth fifth  fifth fifth
Original income   
1976              0.8    9.4   18.8  26.6   44.4  100.0
1981              0.6    8.1   18.0  26.9   46.4  100.0
1984              0.3    6.1   17.5  27.5   48.6  100.0
1985              0.3    6.0   17.2  27.3   49.2  100.0

The figures for 1985 show that the bottom fifth earned 0.015 of
the income per household, while the top fifth earned 2.46
times the income per household. Put in a different way, if we consider
the bottom fifth's original income as 1, the following dramatic
polarized distribution of income appears:
                             Bottom fifth =   1
                             Next fifth   =  20
                             Middle fifth =  57
                             Next fifth   =  91
                             Top fifth    = 164

If in 1997 income per household was £24,000 per year, then, the
different incomes will be:                       £
                             Bottom fifth =     336
                             Next fifth   =   6,720
                             Middle fifth =  19,152
                             Next fifth   =  30,576
                             Top  fifth   =  55,104
Calculating for 1976, when the rate of unemployment was 4.0 (in 1985
it was 11.3 per cent), distribution of income changes to the following:
                             Bottom fifth =     896
                             Nexth fifth  =  10,752 
                             Middle fifth =  21,504
                             Next fifth   =  29,568
                             Top fifth    =  50,176
Considering that the rate of unemployment (measured by the same
parameters -OECD- utilized for 1976 and 1985) is 7.6%, the distribution
of original income should be approximately as follows

Bottom fifth = 0.0272           1         £     615
Next fifth   = 0.385           14             8,610
Middle fifth = 0.900           33            20,295
Next fifth   = 1.348           50            30,750
Top fifth    = 2.340           86            52,890

It is apparent that without welfare benefits 40% of the British
households had to survive in poverty, from destitution to absolute

The effect of welfare state is as follows:

Bottom fifth  = 0.380           1        £    8,589
Next fifth    = 0.635           1.67         14,344  
Middle fifth  = 0.795           2.09         17,951
Next fifth    = 1.150           3.03         26,025 
Top fifth     = 2.040           5.37         46,123

For all industrialized societies, poverty, low wages and social
exclusion affect more the non-white minorities

From "Labour Force Survey 1996", Central Statistical Office, Britain
the following emerges:

                                          SPRING 1995
Great Britain                                         Percentages
                         White  Black* Indian Pakistani/   Other**
     Working full time     72    49      65      41         51
     Working part time      5     8       7       8          8
     Unemployed             8    21      10      18         12
     Inactive              15    22      18      33         29
All (=100%)(thousands) 16,993   273     306     216        224

     Working full time     38    37      36      12         30
     Working part time     29    15      19       6         16
     Unemployed             5    14       7       7          8
     Inactive              28    34      38      75         46
All (=100%)(thousands) 15,420   296     279     191        238
* includes Caribbean, African and other Black people of non-mixed origin
** includes Chinese, other erhnic minority groups of non-mixed origen
   and people of mixed origin
(from table 4.3 Social Trends 26, 1996)

Summary: 6.3% of people of working age is non-white, but they account
         for 11.6% of unemployed people, which indicates a heavy bias.
         Among males: 5.7% are non-white, but they account for 10.2%
                      of unemployed males.
         Among females: 6.2% are non-white, but they account for 10.9%
                        of unemployed females.
UNITED STATES.- Poverty status of persons by age and ethnic origin
                          (per cent of each group)
                                 1980      1995
        less than 18 years       13.9      16.2                    
        18 years to 64 years      8.0       9.6
        65 years and over        13.6       9.0
        less than 18 years       42.3      41.9
        18 years to 64 years     25.6      22.5
        65 years and over        38.1      25.4
        less than 18 years       33.2      40.0
        18 years to 64 years     20.2      24.9
        65 years and over        30.8      23.5
Table built from E. Baugher and L. Lamison-White, "Poverty in the
                 United States:1995", U.S. Government Printing
                 Office, 1996

From the same source:

UNITED STATES.- Poor people. Persons

                              1980       %        1995       %
White                       19,699,000  10.2    24,423,000  11.2
Black                        8,579,000  32.5     9,872,000  29.3
Hispanic Origin              3,491,000  25.7     8,574,000  30.3
               Total population. Percentages.
                          White      78%
                          Black      12%
                          Hispanic   10%
   A. Women and poverty  
   B. Education and training of women 
   C. Women and health 
   D. Violence against women
   E. Women and armed conflict  
   F. Women and the economy  
   G. Women in power and decision-making
   H. Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women 
   I. Human rights of women  
   J. Women and the media  
   K. Women and the environment  
   L. The girl child
BRITAIN.- Source: Social Trends 1992
                                    Male           Female
Managerial and professional         36.3%          28.7%
Other non-manual                     6.2%           9.3%
Clerical or related                  5.6%          30.6%
Craft or similar                    25.5%          27.5%
General labourers                    0.9%           0.1%
Other manual                        25.0%           3.8%
Spring 1995

Managers and administrators         19.0%          10.0%
Craft and related                   17.0%           3.0%
Plant and machine operatives        15.0%           4.0%
Professional                        12.0%           9.0%
Associate professional and technical 8.0%          10.0%
Clerical and secretarial             7.0%          26.0%
Personal and protective services     7.0%          16.0%
Sales                                5.0%          12.0%
Other                                7.0           10.0%

FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES ON ADULT RATES (April of each year, all industries)
Average weekly earnings (£)
          1983   1984   1985   1986   1987   1988   1989   1990   1991

Men       164.7  178.8  192.4  207.5  224.0  245.8  269.5  295.6  318.9
Women     109.5  117.2  126.4  137.2  148.1  164.2  182.3  201.5  222.4

Unemployed (thousands)

Men       1949   1960   2018   2064   1890   1519   1202   1121   1668
Women      750    828    889    934    826    666    484    401    532

Employees in employment

Men       11674  11625  11637  11481  11437  11706  11725  11783  11315
Women      8882   9106   9273   9395   9643  10042  10417  10551  10355
source: Annual Abstract of Statistics and Employment Gazette

In International Labour Review, Vol. 136, No. 7, Summer 1997, A. K. Sen,
"Inequality, unemployment and contemporary Europe", answered to the
question "What, then, are the diverse penalities of massive unemployment,
other than its association with low income? The list would have to
include at least the following distinct concerns:

(1) loss of current output and fiscal burden
(2) Loss of freedom and social exclusion
(3) Skill loss and long-run damage (just as people "learn by doing",
    they also "unlearn" by "not doing" -by being out of work and out
    of practice.
(4) Psychological harm (intense suffering and mental agony)
(5) Ill health and mortality
(6) Motivational loss and future work (discouragement)
(7) Loss of human relations and family life
(8) Racial and gender inequality
(9) Loss of social values and responsibility
(10) Organizational inflexibility and technical conservantism

And Sen finishes his paper with the following illustration:

"...high levels of mortality among socially deprived groups in the
United States. For example, African-Americans -American blacks- have a
lower chance of reaching a mature age than the people of China, or
Sri Lanka, or the Indian state of Kerala...The fact that these people
from the Third World are so much poorer than the United States
population (and also poorer than the American black population, who are
more than 20 times richer in terms of per capita income than, say,
Indians in Kerala), makes the comparative disadvantage of African-
Americans in survival particularly disturbing".
..."it is amazing that so much unemployment is so easily tolerated in
contemporary Europe".
BOX 1___________________________________________________________________

Economic Growth and Equitable Human Development: The Launch of the
1996 Human Development Report   

Event:Statement for the USA 
Release of the 1996 Human Development Report
Speaker:Mr. James Gustave Speth, Administrator, UNDP
Location:National Press Club, Washington DC
Date: 16 July 1996   
The first myth is that most of the developing world is doing rather
well, led by some 15 rapidly growing developing economies and
spurred by the opportunities of market globalization. As a result,
the myth has it, the poor are catching up, and we are seeing a
convergence of rich and poor. As the report amply documents, this
is simply not the case. Unfortunately, we live in a world that has
in fact become more polarized economically, both between countries
and within them. If current trends continue, if they are not
quickly corrected, economic disparities will move from inequitable
to inhuman -- from unacceptable to intolerable.   
The second myth is that the early stages of economic growth is
inevitably associated with growing inequality within the country.
Again, this report marshals convincing evidence that this need not
be the case. Equitable growth is not only ideal in the abstract, it
is possible in the real world.   
Today, we live on a planet which increasingly represents not `one
world', but `two worlds'. The `two worlds' result in part from the
failure of growth in more than 100 countries. As the Human
Development Report 1996 indicates, these countries' per capita
income is lower than it was 15 years ago, and, as a result, more
than a quarter of humanity -- 1.6 billion people -- are worse off
today than they were 15 years ago.   
In 70 developing countries, today's levels of income are less than
those reached in the 1960s or 1970s. In 19, per capita income is
less than it was in 1960 or before. Economic decline in much of the
developing world has lasted for longer and gone deeper than the
Great Depression of the 1930s.   
This economic growth came with mixed blessings. Too often it was
associated with joblessness, widening income gaps and growing
impoverishment. In recent years, the world has been witnessing a
famine of jobs. The report contains an employment analysis of 69
countries over the last decade. Of the 46 countries with positive
economic growth, only 27 saw employment also grow; 19 experienced
jobless growth, including the large countries of South Asia.   
Poverty and income gaps have also grown amidst economic growth.
World poverty is increasing about as fast as world population,
which itself is growing in unprecedented number. The World Bank
recently estimated that 1.3 billion people live -- or don't live --
on less than a dollar a day. Equally depressing, the number of
people with incomes of less that $750 per year, hardly more than $2
per day, is about 3.3 billion people, or 60 per cent of humanity.We
must face the fact that we live in a world where between 1960 and
1993 total global income increased by 6-fold to $23 trillion, and
where average world per capita income tripled, but where
three-fifths of humanity still lives in a prison of poverty.   
Another pattern is revealed by Thailand, many Latin American
countries, and others. During the last two decades, the ratio of
share of income of the richest 10 per cent to the poorest 10 per
cent of the Thai population has more than doubled -- from 17 times
to 38 times. And today, in the United States, the share of total
assets owned by the richest one per cent of the people has almost
doubled from 20 per cent to 36 per cent since 1975.   
In countries like Brazil and Guatemala the richest 20 per cent earn
more than 30 times the poorest, and even in the United States, the
United Kingdom, Switzerland and Australia, the difference is about
10-fold. These trends cumulate into startling patterns of inequity
and injustice. Consider these indicators.   
During the last three decades, the ratio of the income share of the
richest 20 per cent to that of the poorest 20 per cent has more
than doubled from 30:1 to 61:1. The poorest 20 per cent saw their
share of global income decline from 2.3 per cent to 1.4 per cent
over the last 30 years.   
Today, the net worth of the 358 richest people is equal to the
combined income of the poorest 45 per cent of the world's
population -- 2.3 billion people.   
Developing countries, with 80 per cent of the world's population,
account for only about 20 per cent of world output. Despite the
growth in the developing world, the share of world output from the
OECD countries actually increased from 68 per cent in 1960 to 72
per cent in 1990.   
The gap in per capita income between the industrial and developing
worlds, far from narrowing, tripled between 1960 and 1993, from
$5,700 to $15,400.   

The world, on many fronts, is divided -- between rich and poor,
between haves and have-nots, between wealthy and the dispossessed.
It has become more polarized, both between countries and within
countries. If present trends continue, the global economy will be
gargantuan in its excesses and grotesque in its inequalities. Vast
inequality would be the norm and instability and violence its
BOX 2___________________________________________________________________
     United Nations (Copenhagen, 6-12 March 1995)

15.  There has been progress in some areas of social and economic

     (a) The global wealth of nations has multiplied sevenfold in the
past 50 years and international trade has grown even more dramatically;

     (b) Life expectancy, literacy and primary education, and access to
basic health care, including family planning, have increased in the
majority of countries and average infant mortality has been reduced,
including in developing countries;

     (c) Democratic pluralism, democratic institutions and fundamental
civil liberties have expanded.  Decolonization efforts have achieved much
progress, while the elimination of apartheid is a historic achievement.

16.  Yet we recognize that far too many people, particularly women and
children, are vulnerable to stress and deprivation.  Poverty,
unemployment and social disintegration too often result in isolation,
marginalization and violence.  The insecurity that many people, in
particular vulnerable people, face about the future - their own and
their children's - is intensifying:

     (a) Within many societies, both in developed and developing
countries, the gap between rich and poor has increased.  Furthermore,
despite the fact that some developing countries are growing rapidly the
gap between developed and many developing countries, particularly the
least developed countries, has widened;

     (b) More than one billion people in the world live in abject poverty,
most of whom go hungry every day.  A large proportion, the majority of
whom are women, have very limited access to income, resources, education,
health care or nutrition, particularly in Africa and the least developed

     (c) There are also serious social problems of a different nature
and magnitude in countries with economies in transition and countries
experiencing fundamental political, economic and social transformations;

     (d) The major cause of the continued deterioration of the global
environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production,
particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave
concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances;

     (e) Continued growth in the world's population, its structure and
distribution, and its relationship with poverty and social and gender
inequality challenge the adaptive capacities of Governments, individuals,
social institutions and the natural environment;

     (f) Over 120 million people world wide are officially unemployed and
many more are underemployed.  Too many young people, including those with
formal education, have little hope of finding productive work;

     (g) More women than men live in absolute poverty and the imbalance
continues to grow, with serious consequences for women and their children.
Women carry a disproportionate share of the problems of coping with
poverty, social disintegration, unemployment, environmental degradation
and the effects of war;

     (h) One of the world's largest minorities, more than 1 in 10, are
people with disabilities, who are too often forced into poverty,
unemployment and social isolation.  In addition, in all countries older
persons may be particularly vulnerable to social exclusion, poverty and

     (i) Millions of people world wide are refugees or internally
displaced persons.  The tragic social consequences have a critical effect
on the social stability and development of their home countries, their
host countries and their respective regions.

17.  While these problems are global in character and affect all
countries, we clearly acknowledge that the situation of most developing
countries, and particularly of Africa and the least developed countries,
is critical and requires special attention and action.  We also
acknowledge that these countries, which are undergoing fundamental
political, economic and social transformation, including countries in
the process of consolidating peace and democracy, require the support of
the international community.

18.  Countries with economies in transition, which are also undergoing
fundamental political, economic and social transformation, require the
support of the international community as well.

19.  Other countries that are undergoing fundamental political, economic
and social transformation require the support of the international
community as well.

20.  The goals and objectives of social development require continuous
efforts to reduce and eliminate major sources of social distress and
instability for the family and for society.  We pledge to place particular
focus on and give priority attention to the fight against the world-wide
conditions that pose severe threats to the health, safety, peace, security
and well-being of our people.  Among these conditions are 
             chronic hunger;
             illicit drug problems;
             organized crime;
             foreign occupation;
             armed conflicts;
             illicit arms trafficking,
             intolerance and incitement to racial, ethnic, religious
             and other hatreds;
             and endemic, communicable and chronic diseases.

To this end, coordination and cooperation at the national level and
especially at the regional and international levels should be further

21.  In this context, the negative impact on development of excessive
military expenditures, the arms trade, and investment for arms production
and acquisition must be addressed.

22.  Communicable diseases constitute a serious health problem in all
countries and are a major cause of death globally; in many cases, their
incidence is increasing.  These diseases are a hindrance to social
development and are often the cause of poverty and social exclusion.  The
prevention, treatment and control of these diseases, covering a spectrum
from tuberculosis and malaria to the human immunodeficiency
virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), must be given the
highest priority.
________________end BOX 2_______________________________________________