Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Who's the greatest of all?

Whatever the political orators might say, the United States has some keen competition these days from the world’s industrialized countries. Or as a press release of the Economic Policy Institute puts it, the United States has lost its bid for the gold in some crucial categories.

In per capita income, the U.S. comes in second to Norway, but even that high rank comes at a cost: longer working hours than in 19 other industrialized countries.

Currently the top one-tenth of the U.S. population collects 8.1 percent of the income. No wonder that the United States has the highest rate of inequality and the highest rate of poverty among its 19 peer countries.

Those data are from a chapter on international comparisons in The State of Working America 2008/2009, published by the Economic Policy Institute. The book is the 11th edition of what the Financial Times has called the “most comprehensive independent analysis of the U.S. Labor Market.”

“The message here for other countries is ‘Think twice before emulating the U.S. model,’” said Heidi Shierholze, author of the international chapter. “Many peer countries have caught up with or surpassed U.S. productivity while achieving much lower levels lof poverty, inequality, and unemployment.”

For more information, check EPI at http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/.

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