IN SOUTH AFRICAN POLICY DISCOURSE
What are the major trends with regard to income inequality in
First, income poverty has been declining since the advent of
Second, functional distribution of national income has
worsened, and with it, income inequality.
Third, the change in the share of national income has not
favoured the ‘middle class’, despite the fact that their proportion of the
population has increased, with the per capita expenditure growth incidence
curve evincing a U shape.
Fourth, being employed does not, on its own, guarantee an
escape from poverty and this has worsened anomie within the labour market and
Fifth, the inequality measures show a declining trend between
races, while it has shown a rising trend within races.
Sixth, inequality in South Africa’s labour market is
aggravated by the skills shortages which do add a premium to salaries; while on
the other hand, the oversupply of unskilled workers pushes wages down at the
INEQUALITY IN PUBLIC POLICY CONSCIOUSNESS
To what extent have insights on inequality impacted on South
African policy-making and discourse?
South Africa has not been immune
to global discourse on this issue: both in the context of the negative impact
of the global economic crisis as well as the positive instances of progress
made in Brazil during the second term of Lula’s presidency. But the matter is
of great interest to South Africa because it is estimated to have the second
highest Gini coefficient across the globe; and this manifests along the racial
dynamics inherited from apartheid.