Canada Seeks the OECD Record for Income Inequality

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America: Where the rich get richer faster than in so many other places!
America: Where the rich get richer faster than in so many other places!

Yesterday I wrote about the rebooting of the Occupy Movement in 10 days. I’m very excited.

And to help you understand why this is such a big deal, especially in Canada, it’s important to see how Canada is increasingly becoming the poster child for income inequality. We are not nice and neighbourly and friendly. We are increasingly unequal society. Unless we step up and say that we’re mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it any more, the rich in Canada will continue to pad their pockets with income at the expense of all of us in the working classes.

Here’s how this works:

  1. The OECD is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It sounds so kumbaya, but it doesn’t get much further away from that. The OECD is the organization of basically the 34 richest countries in the world. I call the OECD world, the minority world because they represent the minority of the world’s population [compared to everyone else] that controls the majority of the wealth. The OECD is the epitome of income inequality. But they don’t suck as much as the World Economic Forum, the rich cabal of corporate and government leaders who literally run the world, democracy be damned.
  2. The Gini coefficient is a data geek term that measures how unequal income is distributed in a country. A 1.00 Gini coefficient means that one kleptocratic maniac gets it all and everyone else drops dead. A very low Gini coefficient demonstrates much more income equality. Zero means everyone has the some income.
  3. And while the 1% in America are racing ahead of those in other OECD countries at getting back in the game of getting richer than the rest of their fellow citizens, see the graph above, we can see that Canada, nice and neighbourly that we are, we’re looking at reaching towards South Africa, the crowning glory of income inequality.
  4. Canada’s December 2013 Gini coefficient, according to the darlings at the OECD is 0.32. South Africa’s, for comparison, is 0.695. That feels like we should congratulate ourselves, but we still suck.
  5. Now, look at the list below of all the OECD countries that have better Gini coefficients and better income equality than Canada. 22/34 of the OECD countries have more income equality than Canada. We are even worse than the OECD-wide Gini coefficient. Boy do we suck. Who doesn’t suck? Iceland, Slovenia, Norway, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovak Republic, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Luxembourg, Hungary, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Poland, Ireland, Korea, New Zealand, Italy, Estonia. They’re all doing better than us. Sure, 11 OECD countries have even more income inequality than us, but really, Canada: #SlowClap for this one. 2/3 of the OECD countries are doing a better job than we are at income equality.
  6. The conclusion? Join us at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 10 days to start the long 3-month initial phase of the reboot of the Occupy Movement. The OAS qualifying age is going up. The CPP, though solvent for 75 years, provides less than a living wage; and since the majority of CPP value comes from investments and compounding, doubling the CPP will not be onerous on contributions. Fewer people are eligible for EI than ever before, since WWII. The Conservative Party wants to cut taxes some billions by extending pension splitting to family income splitting, allowing a really rich minority to drop their taxes EVEN MORE! And there are many more reasons why our economy is not serving humans, but corporations and the rich.
  7. But don’t take my word for it. The OECD represents the cabal of most of the most advanced countries in the world. Even THEY think Canada is swirling the toilet bowl of progress.
  8. Welcome back, Occupy Movement!
Gini coefficient
Iceland 0.244
Slovenia 0.246
Norway 0.249
Denmark 0.252
Czech Republic 0.256
Finland 0.260
Slovak Republic 0.261
Belgium 0.262
Austria 0.267
Sweden 0.269
Luxembourg 0.270
Hungary 0.272
Germany 0.286
Netherlands 0.288
Switzerland 0.298
France 0.303
Poland 0.305
Ireland 0.307
Korea 0.310
OECD 0.313
New Zealand 0.317
Italy 0.319
Estonia 0.320
Canada 0.320
Australia 0.334
Japan 0.336
Greece 0.337
Spain 0.338
United Kingdom 0.341
Portugal 0.344
Israel 0.376
United States 0.380
Turkey 0.411
Mexico 0.466
Chile 0.501


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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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