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With Wealth Highly Skewed Toward the Top, US Ranks 12th in New Measure of Human Development

We have more inequality today than we had back in 1990, the year the UN Human Development Index first appeared.

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Our globe, in short, “has much to gain from concentrating its efforts on equity-improving reforms.” And we have, as the new UN report notes, a lot of inequity that needs improving.

“Nearly 7 billion people now inhabit the earth,” the report observes. “Some live in extreme poverty -- others in gracious luxury.”

One British daily, the Guardian, is already predicting that the new Human Development Report’s emphasis on distribution “could again revolutionize our way of assessing progress” -- because nations “do care” about where the UN Human Development Index has them ranked.

Countries that manage to reduce inequality in the future, the Guardian notes, will see themselves move up on the new UN index rankings. As well these countries should.

“Inequitable development,” as the new 2010 Human Development Report sums up, “is not human development.”

Sam Pizzigati is the editor of the online weekly Too Much, and an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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