by Noni Mausa
Inequality on the Island
Your island has 1000 people. 500 are working age, 500 are children or elderly and can’t do much. That’s normal, and not a problem.
The 500, working together, easily produce enough food and stuff for 5000 people, while also supporting the 500 young, old and disabled. In fact, the working 500 are so productive that in good times they have plenty of time to create music and art, write books, do research, and explore the sea, the land and the heavens. And when members of the 500 grow old, there are youngsters ready and willing to take their place.
With 5000 livings floating around, no-one expects each person to have 5 livings. Some will always have a bit more, others a bit less. But this variability can go too far.
By 2007 on the island, 200 people control 4250 of the 5000 livings,and of that group ten people control 1730 livings. One of the 200 has 615 livings all to himself.
The other 800 people on the island have 750 livings to share, 0.94 each. Half of these people are not workers, and need to be supported by the remaining 400.
These 400, subsisting on less than a living each, produce 80%of the island’s economy of 5000 livings, or 10 livings each. In return they receive 1.88 livings with which to support themselves and one dependent.
There’s your inequality. How does it look to you?