What’s driving the income gap in East Asia?
Isn’t economic growth good for everyone? Many corporate and political leaders contend that unfettered markets grow faster, while critics point to data showing that rising Gross Domestic Products do not stream throughout society. They claim that deregulation is siphoning wealth into the hands of a few, and worry that this will undermine economic growth and threaten political stability.
Confronting rising inequality is now a major national agenda in almost every East Asian society, asserts Wang Feng, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and professor of sociology at UC Irvine. A summary of Wang’s AsiaPacific Issues brief titled “The End of ‘Growth with Equity’? Economic Growth and Income Inequality in East Asia,” examines the forces that are driving an ever-larger wedge between a small number of wealthy people and a growing number of people with stagnant or falling incomes.