Catherine Rampell features the chart above today on the Economix blog, taken from a new book "The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality" by Branko Milanovic. The chart shows the relationship between a) the distribution of income by "ventiles" (5% groups) for the U.S., Brazil, China and India on the horizontal axis and b) the percentile of world income distribution on the vertical axis. As Catherine comments:
"Notice how the entire line for the United States resides in the top portion of the graph? That’s because the entire country is relatively rich. In fact, America’s bottom ventile is still richer than most of the world: That is, the typical person in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution is still richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants (see dashed line in graph).
Now check out the line for India. India’s poorest ventile corresponds with the 4th poorest percentile worldwide. And its richest? The 68th percentile. Yes, that’s right: America’s poorest are, as a group, about as rich as India’s richest. Kind of blows your mind, right?"
MP: Yes, and shouldn't it also blow away a lot of our misguided concern about rising income inequality in the U.S.?