Thursday, June 09, 2005

Click opera

Momus talks about Genie's and Math and Inequality and stuff:
Click opera:
"There's a worldwide ranking of countries by Gini rating here. The most highly unequal country is Sierra Leone (.62 of a genie), the most equal country Belarus (.21 of a genie). Japan is fourth lowest of the nations ranked in this table (dated 2004) at .24 of a genie. Gini is high in the US, about .4 and rising. (In the table, as soon as you go higher than the US you mostly see incredibly corrupt African countries.) The moments you're most aware of America's high Gini are when you're, for instance, passing through the poor parts of Brooklyn on your way to the rich parts of Manhattan, or when you're walking down a street in LA and see that every house has a sign planted in the lawn where a bush should be, a hard-ass sign saying that if you intrude a rapid response SWAT team will be dispatched to fucking fix you. You're aware of it when you see lots of private security guys, or when you're told that X district is safe but Y district is dangerous. People have a tendency to think that these are givens and that they apply anywhere in the world ('you've got to keep your wits about you, know the score, stay safe'). But in fact they're only issues in high Gini places. They're something we organize structurally, and something we can repair politically. The genie can be banished... if you want it."

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