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Egalitarian or Edwardian? The rising wealth inequality in Australia

Jennifer Chesters writes in The Conversation (8.8.17) that, if the gap in Australia between the wealth of the billionaires and that of the average residents continues to widen dramatically, there is likely to be discontent.

'Recent commentary on levels of inequality exposes the myth that Australia is an egalitarian society in which the privileges of birth have little currency.

'Focusing on inequality in the distribution of incomes ignores an equally important dimension of inequality: wealth. Wealth is much more unequally distributed than income. Therefore, ignoring wealth inequality skews perceptions of social inequality.

'Perceptions of the levels of income and wealth inequality are derived from our day-to-day experiences. This means that not mixing with people from the other end of the wealth distribution can colour our perceptions of inequality.

'... Recent turmoil in the UK and the US may be an indicator that the "peasants are revolting" and are not willing to return to the 19th century, when the very rich lorded over the masses.

'Australia has yet to experience mass demonstrations and voter backlashes. But events overseas should be ringing alarm bells among our politicians in Canberra.'

 

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