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University of Toronto Scarborough
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

Chapter 8: Economic Inequality in Canada -regarding the sale of body parts people selling body parts are almost invariably poor and people buying body parts are invariably rich -North America (especially US) poor people are more likely than rich to suffer illnesses that could be alleviated by organ transplantation and yet are less likely to be offered transplant opportunities In the US, this is largely the result of the poor not having adequate private health insurance to cover transplantation costs -Materialism, the attempt to satisfy needs by buying products or experiences, is a defining characteristic of modern society economic prosperity has made Canada one of the best countries to live in -Figure 8.1 shows growth of prosperity in post-WW2 Canadian economy (Note: incomes in graph corrected for inflation) Todays average income $70000 versus $30000 in the early 1950s -purchasing power of families rose bc economic productivity was enhanced by improvements in workers skills and by advances in the technologies used for production -Notice from Figure 1 that average earnings have increases at a slower rate recently event though the number of earners in a family increased more women entered the paid labour force Despite working harder and longer, families incomes have not grown proportionately -Figure 8.1 simplification bc it is based on averages -economic prosperity and benefits of materialism are not equally shared -two extremes (rich and poor) most of use inbw the two extremes -best way to measure inequality that falls bw these two extremes organize into quintiles -the concept of the share of income held by each quintile is frequently used to investigate income inequality in Canada and elsewhere -Figure 8.2 shows that for 2002, lowest quintile (20%) of income earners received 4.6% of all income while the top quintile received 45% of all income almost half of all income was held by 20% of individuals and families -Income inequality is somewhat less marking in Canada than in the US -Figure 8.2 also shows that since the mid-1980s, there has been growing evidence of widening income inequality in Western industrial countries, including Canada -incomes in Figure 8.2 pre-tax incomes: the money ppl receive before paying taxes -Table 8.1 illustrates that in 2002, the govt did redirect some income from the highest earners in Canada (the top quintile) to each of the other quintiles -furthermore, during the last decades, redistributive effort of governments declined in Canada Explanations of Income Inequality Page 1
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