The Economist leader this week is about income inequality:
The preoccupation bordering on obsession with economic equality that one so often encounters at gatherings of anti-globalists, in the corridors of aid agencies and in socialist redoubts in backward parts of the world reflects a “lump of income” fallacy. This remarkably tenacious misconception is that there is only so much global income to go around. If the United States is consuming $10 trillion worth of goods and services each year, that is $10 trillion worth of goods and services that Africa cannot consume.
But goods and services are not just lying around waiting to be grabbed by the greediest or most muscular countries. Market economics is not a zero-sum game. America consumes $10 trillion worth of goods and services each year because it produces (not counting the current-account deficit of 5% or so of the total) $10 trillion of goods and services each year. Africa could produce and consume a lot more without America producing and consuming one jot less. It so happens that the case for more aid, provided of course that it is well spent, is strong–but the industrialised countries do not need to become any less rich before Africa can become a lot less poor. The wealth of the wealthy is not part of the problem.
Read the whole thing, as they say.