One informal analysis suggests short first names are strongly correlated with higher salaries. They are bad in several ways, and modern glyphs are little better.
Some of these disparities have been among racial or ethnic groups, some among nations, and some among regions, continents, or whole civilizations. In the nineteenth century, real per capita income in the Balkans was about one-third that in Britain.
That dwarfs intergroup disparities that many in the United States today regard as not merely strange but sinister. Singapore has a median per capita income that is literally hundreds of times greater than that in Burma. During the rioting in Indonesia last year, much of it directed against the ethnic Chinese in that country, some commentators found it strange that the Chinese minority, which is just 5 percent of the Indonesian population, owned an estimated four-fifths of the capital in the country.
But it is not strange. Such disparities have long been common in other countries in Southeast Asia, where Chinese immigrants typically entered poor and then prospered, creating whole industries in the process. People from India did the same in much of East Africa and in Fiji.
Occupations have been similarly unequal. In the early s, Jews were just 6 percent of the population of Hungary and 11 percent of the population of Poland, but they were more than half of all the physicians in both countries, as well as being vastly over-represented in commerce and other fields.
By the late twentieth century, it was estimated that 17 percent of the people in the world produce four-fifths of the total output on the planet. Such examples could be multiplied longer than you would have the patience to listen.
In some cases, we can trace the reasons, but in other cases we cannot. A more fundamental question, however, is: Why should anyone have ever expected equality in the first place? Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that not only every racial or ethnic group, but even every single individual in the entire world, has identical genetic potential.
If it is possible to be even more extreme, let us assume that we all behave like saints toward one another. Would that produce equality of results?
Real income consists of output and output depends on inputs. These inputs are almost never equal-- or even close to being equal. During the decade of the s, for example, the Chinese minority in Malaysia earned more than a hundred times as many engineering degrees as the Malay majority.
Halfway around the world at the same time, the majority of the population of Nigeria, living in its northern provinces, were just 9 percent of the students attending that country's University of Ibadan and just 2 percent of the much larger number of Nigerian students studying abroad in foreign institutions of higher learning.
In the Austrian Empire inthe illiteracy rate among Polish adults was 40 percent and among Serbo-Croatians 75 percent-- but only 6 percent among the Germans. Given similar educational disparities among other groups in other countries-- disparities in both the quantity and quality of education, as well as in fields of specialization-- why should anyone expect equal outcomes in incomes or occupations?
Educational differences are just one source of economic disparities. Even at the level of craft skills, groups have differed enormously, as they have in urbanization. During the Middle Ages, and in some places long beyond, most of the population of the cities in Slavic Eastern Europe were not Slavs.
Germans, Jews, and other non-Slavic peoples were the majority populations in these cities for centuries, while the Slavs were predominantly peasants in the surrounding countrysides. Prior to the yearthe official records of the city of Cracow were kept in German-- and the transition that year was to Latin.
Only decades later did Poles become a majority of the population of Cracow. Only over a period of centuries did the other cities of Slavic Eastern Europe acquire predominantly Slavic populations. As late as97 percent of the people living in the cities of Byelorussia were not Byelorussians. Until this long transition to urban living took place among the Slavs, how could the wide range of skills typically found in cities be expected to exist in populations that lived overwhelmingly in the countryside?
Not only did they not have such skills in Eastern Europe, they did not have them when they immigrated to the United States, to Australia, or to other countries, where they typically worked in low-level occupations and earned correspondingly low incomes.
In the early years of the twentieth century, for example, immigrants to the United States from Eastern and Southern Europe earned just 15 percent of the income of immigrants from Norway, Holland, Sweden, and Britain. Groups also differ demographically.
It is not uncommon to find some groups with median ages a decade younger than the median ages of other groups, and differences of two decades are not unknown.RACE, CULTURE, AND EQUALITY 1 by Thomas Sowell.
During the 15 years that I spent researching and writing my recently completed trilogy on racial and cultural issues, 2 I was struck again and again with how common huge disparities in income and wealth have been for centuries, in countries around the world-- and yet how each country regards its own particular disparities as unusual, if not unique.
From the beginning of time, people have formed groups. Groups provide the basis for family living, protection, waging war and work. Every time youre in a meeting, whether with one other person or twenty, youre in a group.
Group behaviour has ranged from total chaos to dramatic change, but it is. The s were a time of tremendous change in America. It was a period of time called The Roaring Twenties, where America becomes urban and commercial and gets to know the speed, spending, mobility, entertainment and fearlessness.
New Left Review 87, May-June Save a PDF file; Send an email; Print article; wolfgang streeck HOW WILL CAPITALISM END? There is a widespread sense today that capitalism is in critical condition, more so than at any time since the end of the Second World War.
 A version of this text was delivered as the Anglo-German Foundation Lecture at the British Academy on 23 January Essay on The s and s - The s changed through just about everything: war, technology, and presidents.
After the great depression in the s the American Dream went in a new direction and began the postmodernist era.
Executive summary. In August , a Ferguson, Missouri, policeman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. Michael Brown’s death and the resulting protests and racial tension brought considerable attention to that town.