We measure the level of poverty in the midst of affluence using what we denote the miser index. We calculate the index of poverty-induced polarisation for a number of countries. The most miserly countries are in Southern Africa and Latin America. Miserly countries tend to be socially fractionalised, bureaucratically inefficient, and politically corrupt. They provide low levels of healthcare and education. Considering the world as a single entity, we find a dramatic rise in global miserliness over the last 30 years going from the level of Colombia to that of South Africa. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. (Adam Smith, 1776: 232)
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Volume (Year): 47 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 (June)
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