Explore Wealth and Income Inequality around the world
November 8, 2017 8:56 AM   Subscribe

The World Wealth and Income Database WID.world "aims to provide open and convenient access to the most extensive available database on the historical evolution of the world distribution of income and wealth, both within countries and between countries."
posted by amitai (4 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My difficulty responding to infographic presentations such as this one is two-fold. (1) It does not represent any new information or explanation for historical concentration of capital assets in Europe and the USA. (2) The lengthy, hidebound discursion on methodology does not actually define its terms "income" and "wealth".
posted by marycatherine at 12:10 PM on November 8, 2017

Their methodology page mentions that they don't use GDP:
We prefer the concept of national income (NI), i.e. GDP minus consumption of fixed capital (capital depreciation) plus net foreign income.
It doesn't define "wealth," specifically, but the explanation of how they get their numbers seems to put that in better context.

But mostly, it's a pretty chartset without explanations. I understand that it's a noteworthy feat of coding and data-wrangling, but I'm always leery of these things today, as I've seen too many charts without explanations used to justify offensive or oppressive political drama.

(Good post; though; nice tool. Not your fault the creators made it for economics geeks instead of the general public.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:18 PM on November 8, 2017

I read the methodology page before I commented. That's what I mean by hidebound. GNP, GNI, GDP calculations are SOP of the shell game concluding with some per capita metric that cannot adequately describe persistent abnormal distribution of capital. ffs, take the OECD Life Index. It's about as informative and a "prettier" promo of well-being afforded by wealth and income.
posted by marycatherine at 2:02 PM on November 8, 2017

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