In economics, the Gini coefficient ( JEE-nee), sometimes called the Gini index or Gini ratio, is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income or wealth distribution of a nation's residents, and is the most commonly used measurement of inequality. It was developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper Variability and Mutability (Italian: Variabilità e mutabilità).
The Gini coefficient measures the inequality among values of a frequency distribution (for example, levels of income). A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, where all values are the same (for example, where everyone has the same income). A Gini coefficient of one (or 100%) expresses maximal inequality among values (e.g., for a large number of people, where only one person has all the income or consumption, and all others have none, the Gini coefficient will be very nearly one). For larger groups, values close to one are very unlikely in practice. Given the normalization of both the cumulative population and the cumulative share of income used to calculate the Gini coefficient, the measure is not overly sensitive to the specifics of the income distribution, but rather only on how incomes vary relative to the other members of a population. The exception to this is in the redistribution of income resulting in a minimum income for all people. When the population is sorted, if their income distribution were to approximate a well-known function, then some representative values could be calculated.
The Gini coefficient was proposed by Gini as a measure of inequality of income or wealth. For OECD countries, in the late 20th century, considering the effect of taxes and transfer payments, the income Gini coefficient ranged between 0.24 and 0.49, with Slovenia being the lowest and Mexico the highest. African countries had the highest pre-tax Gini coefficients in 2008–2009, with South Africa the world's highest, variously estimated to be 0.63 to 0.7, although this figure drops to 0.52 after social assistance is taken into account, and drops again to 0.47 after taxation. The global income Gini coefficient in 2005 has been estimated to be between 0.61 and 0.68 by various sources.
There are some issues in interpreting a Gini coefficient. The same value may result from many different distribution curves. The demographic structure should be taken into account. Countries with an aging population, or with a baby boom, experience an increasing pre-tax Gini coefficient even if real income distribution for working adults remains constant. Scholars have devised over a dozen variants of the Gini coefficient.
- "Gini coefficient" | 2020-02-04 | 25 Upvotes 19 Comments
Global Peace Index (GPI) measures the relative position of nations' and regions' peacefulness. The GPI ranks 172 independent states and territories (99.7 percent of the world's population) according to their levels of peacefulness. In the past decade, the GPI has presented trends of increased global violence and less peacefulness. It also increases the world peace program in the world.
The GPI is a report produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) and developed in consultation with an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks with data collected and collated by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Index was first launched in May 2009, with subsequent reports being released annually. In 2015 it ranked 165 countries, up from 121 in 2007. The study was conceived by Australian technology entrepreneur Steve Killelea, and is endorsed by individuals such as former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President of Finland and 2008 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, economist Jeffrey Sachs, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson and former United States president Jimmy Carter. The updated index is released each year at events in London, Washington, DC; and at the United Nations Secretariat in New York.
The 2019 GPI indicates Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark to be the most peaceful countries and Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq to be the least peaceful. Long-term findings of the 2017 GPI include a less peaceful world over the past decade, a 2.14 per cent deterioration in the global level of peace in the past decade, growing inequality in peace between the most and least peaceful countries, a long-term reduction in the GPI Militarization domain, and a widening impact of terrorism, with historically high numbers of people killed in terrorist incidents over the past 10 years.
- "Global Peace Index (GPI)" | 2019-06-16 | 22 Upvotes 13 Comments
Petrodollar recycling is the international spending or investment of a country's revenues from petroleum exports ("petrodollars"). It generally refers to the phenomenon of major petroleum-exporting nations, mainly the OPEC members plus Russia and Norway, earning more money from the export of crude oil than they could efficiently invest in their own economies. The resulting global interdependencies and financial flows, from oil producers back to oil consumers, can reach a scale of hundreds of billions of US dollars per year – including a wide range of transactions in a variety of currencies, some pegged to the US dollar and some not. These flows are heavily influenced by government-level decisions regarding international investment and aid, with important consequences for both global finance and petroleum politics. The phenomenon is most pronounced during periods when the price of oil is historically high.
The term petrodollar was coined in the early 1970s during the oil crisis, and the first major petrodollar surge (1974–1981) resulted in more financial complications than the second (2005–2014).
In August 2018, Venezuela declared that it would price its oil in Euros, Yuan and other currencies.
- "Petrodollar Warfare -- AKA the "Oil Currency Wars"" | 2011-04-23 | 13 Upvotes 16 Comments
The Spanish flu (also known as the 1918 flu pandemic) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. Lasting from January 1918 to December 1920, it infected 500 million people—about a quarter of the world's population at the time. The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.
To maintain morale, World War I censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Papers were free to report the epidemic's effects in neutral Spain, such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII, and these stories created a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit. This gave rise to the pandemic's nickname, "Spanish flu". Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify with certainty the pandemic's geographic origin, with varying views as to the origin.
Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill the very young and the very old, with a higher survival rate for those in between, but the Spanish flu pandemic resulted in a higher than expected mortality rate for young adults. Scientists offer several possible explanations for the high mortality rate of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Some analyses have shown the virus to be particularly deadly because it triggers a cytokine storm, which ravages the stronger immune system of young adults. In contrast, a 2007 analysis of medical journals from the period of the pandemic found that the viral infection was no more aggressive than previous influenza strains. Instead, malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps and hospitals, and poor hygiene promoted bacterial superinfection. This superinfection killed most of the victims, typically after a somewhat prolonged death bed.
The Spanish flu was the first of two pandemics caused by the H1N1 influenza virus; the second was the swine flu in 2009.
Surveillance capitalism has a number of meanings around the commodification of personal information. Since 2014, social psychologist Shoshana Zuboff has used and popularized the term.
World-systems theory (also known as world-systems analysis or the world-systems perspective) is a multidisciplinary, macro-scale approach to world history and social change which emphasizes the world-system (and not nation states) as the primary (but not exclusive) unit of social analysis.
"World-system" refers to the inter-regional and transnational division of labor, which divides the world into core countries, semi-periphery countries, and the periphery countries. Core countries focus on higher skill, capital-intensive production, and the rest of the world focuses on low-skill, labor-intensive production and extraction of raw materials. This constantly reinforces the dominance of the core countries. Nonetheless, the system has dynamic characteristics, in part as a result of revolutions in transport technology, and individual states can gain or lose their core (semi-periphery, periphery) status over time. This structure is unified by the division of labour. It is a world-economy rooted in a capitalist economy. For a time, certain countries become the world hegemon; during the last few centuries, as the world-system has extended geographically and intensified economically, this status has passed from the Netherlands, to the United Kingdom and (most recently) to the United States.
World-systems theory has been examined by many political theorists and sociologists to explain the reasons for the rise and fall of nations, income inequality, social unrest, and imperialism.
- "World-systems theory" | 2014-07-12 | 51 Upvotes 8 Comments
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.
The largest driver of warming is the emission of gases that create a greenhouse effect, of which more than 90% are carbon dioxide (CO
2) and methane. Fossil fuel burning (coal, oil, and natural gas) for energy consumption is the main source of these emissions, with additional contributions from agriculture, deforestation, and manufacturing. The human cause of climate change is not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing. Temperature rise is accelerated or tempered by climate feedbacks, such as loss of sunlight-reflecting snow and ice cover, increased water vapour (a greenhouse gas itself), and changes to land and ocean carbon sinks.
Temperature rise on land is about twice the global average increase, leading to desert expansion and more common heat waves and wildfires. Temperature rise is also amplified in the Arctic, where it has contributed to melting permafrost, glacial retreat and sea ice loss. Warmer temperatures are increasing rates of evaporation, causing more intense storms and weather extremes. Impacts on ecosystems include the relocation or extinction of many species as their environment changes, most immediately in coral reefs, mountains, and the Arctic. Climate change threatens people with food insecurity, water scarcity, flooding, infectious diseases, extreme heat, economic losses, and displacement. These impacts have led the World Health Organization to call climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Even if efforts to minimise future warming are successful, some effects will continue for centuries, including rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification.
Many of these impacts are already felt at the current level of warming, which is about 1.2 °C (2.2 °F). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a series of reports that project significant increases in these impacts as warming continues to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) and beyond. Additional warming also increases the risk of triggering critical thresholds called tipping points. Responding to climate change involves mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation – limiting climate change – consists of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing them from the atmosphere; methods include the development and deployment of low-carbon energy sources such as wind and solar, a phase-out of coal, enhanced energy efficiency, reforestation, and forest preservation. Adaptation consists of adjusting to actual or expected climate, such as through improved coastline protection, better disaster management, assisted colonisation, and the development of more resistant crops. Adaptation alone cannot avert the risk of "severe, widespread and irreversible" impacts.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations collectively agreed to keep warming "well under 2.0 °C (3.6 °F)" through mitigation efforts. However, with pledges made under the Agreement, global warming would still reach about 2.8 °C (5.0 °F) by the end of the century. Limiting warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) would require halving emissions by 2030 and achieving near-zero emissions by 2050.
- "Climate Change" | 2021-07-10 | 14 Upvotes 4 Comments
The Big Mac Index is a price index published by The Economist as an informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity (PPP) between two currencies and provides a test of the extent to which market exchange rates result in goods costing the same in different countries. It "seeks to make exchange-rate theory a bit more digestible."
The index, created in 1986, takes its name from the Big Mac, a hamburger sold at McDonald's restaurants.
- "Big Mac Index Manipulation" | 2022-04-03 | 20 Upvotes 2 Comments