"globalisation... has been accompanied by growing economic inequalities... Forty percent of the world's population living on less than $2 a day accounts for 5 percent of global income while the richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of the world's income."
I have no dispute with the numbers, for which he cites the Human Development Report 2007-08 and which are grim and tragic. The problem is, they don't prove his point that inequalities are growing. By citing the statistics for a single year, how can you possibly show that inequalities are growing?
Possibly recognising this deficiency, he goes on later in the article to provide some numbers for different time periods: "the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans earned 21.2 percent of all income in 2005. This increased from 19 percent in 2004 and exceeded the previous high of 20.8 percent in 2000. In contrast the bottom 50 percent earned 12.8 percent of all income, which was less than 13.4 percent in 2004 and 13 percent in 2000." (I have taken the liberty of correcting a typo, the published article had "2.8 percent" instead of "20.8 percent").
So what to make of this? Let's re-phrase the confusing presentation as a (good) scientist would, in the form of a table:
|Rich (% owned)||20.8||19||21.2|
|Poor (% owned)||13||13.4||12.8|
This shows that in the period 2000-2004 things actually got better. The rich owned less and the poor owned more. In the subsequent year the trend got reversed. Now unless globalisation was officially launched in 2004, this does not prove Mr Yechury's point. More important - from his article were you able to read off that things got better over a 4 year period? Or did the fuming tone and confusing presentation serve to conceal the facts from you?
I do want to emphasise in conclusion that this should not distract us from the overall tragic picture. Is this horribly skewed income distribution - leading to so much suffering - the best that human beings can manage after so many centuries of religion, philosophy, ethics, science and engineering?