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Old 02-25-2014, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I've heard Japan has possibly the largest middle class in the world (or at least as a percentage of the population) and while poverty exists like everywhere, it seems there are very few living in poverty. I don't know much about the Japanese economic system other than the stereotypes about working long hours, huge conglomerates that are like families where employees often spend their whole careers, a very communal attitude. There is plenty of wealth in Tokyo and Japan as a whole, but the wealthy in Japan don't seem as ostentatious about showing off their wealth as in other parts of Asia.

I'm just wondering what the possible political, economic and social reasons for this might be, or if I'm off base here?
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:07 AM
 
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You forget only a few years ago Japan was the world's largest luxury products market (replaced by China recently).

But you are right that Japan has the lowest economic inequality. Maybe because it is the only rich country in Asia? Developing countries always have higher wealth gap because everything is moving rapidly and winners and losers are created faster than in developed economies.

I would think North Korea probably has lower economic inquality. It has a gini index of 31, Japan has 37.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Well Hong Kong and Singapore seem to have quite a high level of inequality. Not sure about Taiwan or South Korea. Maybe the first two being city states has something to do with it, since inequality seems more concentrated in urban areas.

Well yeah, because most in North Korea are dirt poor...
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:31 AM
 
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Japan doesn't have the lowest income inequality. South Korea is at a similar level and Taiwan is lower, according to wikipedia.

But Japan is a richer country, and the work hours are shorter, hence being poor is easier.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:44 AM
 
Location: DFW
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Taiwan (technically not a country) might have a lower inequality but Japan probably has the highest standard of living for the lowest members of its society. Japan's probably about as wealthy as France while Taiwan's on par with, say, Hungary.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
Taiwan (technically not a country) might have a lower inequality but Japan probably has the highest standard of living for the lowest members of its society. Japan's probably about as wealthy as France while Taiwan's on par with, say, Hungary.
In quality of life indicators Japan is right up there, yet life there also seems stressful...I think Taiwan seems wealthier than Hungary now, or with a better quality of life.
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by The Postman View Post

Well yeah, because most in North Korea are dirt poor...
No, poor countries don't have to have low GINI coefficient. In fact, poor countries usually have high income gap.

For example, Central African Republic has 61, Haiti has 59. Sierra Leone has 63. On other hand, Switzerland 29, Sweden 23.
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
Taiwan (technically not a country) might have a lower inequality but Japan probably has the highest standard of living for the lowest members of its society. Japan's probably about as wealthy as France while Taiwan's on par with, say, Hungary.
it is crazy to say Taiwan is at par with Hungry.

You need to look at per capita GDP to fairly compare countries. Taiwan is, comparable to Germany, and higher than France, according to both CIA and IMF.

$100 can probably buy a lot more stuff in Taiwan than in Hungry.
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
No, poor countries don't have to have low GINI coefficient. In fact, poor countries usually have high income gap.

For example, Central African Republic has 61, Haiti has 59. Sierra Leone has 63. On other hand, Switzerland 29, Sweden 23.
He is not saying that, he is saying their low income inequality does not matter cause they are equally poor.

Also those numbers are guesswork at best, they do not have any reliable data. I think the real income inequality in North Korea is quite high. Quite a lot if difference between the politically connected and the ones living in gulags.
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Old 03-06-2016, 12:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
I've heard Japan has possibly the largest middle class in the world (or at least as a percentage of the population) and while poverty exists like everywhere, it seems there are very few living in poverty. I don't know much about the Japanese economic system other than the stereotypes about working long hours, huge conglomerates that are like families where employees often spend their whole careers, a very communal attitude. There is plenty of wealth in Tokyo and Japan as a whole, but the wealthy in Japan don't seem as ostentatious about showing off their wealth as in other parts of Asia.

I'm just wondering what the possible political, economic and social reasons for this might be, or if I'm off base here?
The wealthy in Japan are concerned about attracting negative attention from other people regarding their wealth and success so they tried to tone it down as much as possible.

Japanese employees are still pretty much rewarded on the basis of seniority and status rather than on performance. This explains in part for the narrow gap between the rich and the poor employees, since all of them will have a stable source of income in the long term anyway. Such job stability also meant the lack of incentive for entrepreneurial drive and initiatives in Japan, thus less potential billionaires and more of employees living on paychecks.
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