Growing Inequality Dulls India’s Sheen

India has enjoyed spectacular growth since 1990, but the nation’s wealth is concentrated and not trickling down to most people. “The surging economic growth has improved living conditions of its citizens, but these improvements were not uniformly distributed among India’s diverse population,” explains Riaz Hassan, visiting research professor at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore and director of the International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding at the University of South Australia. “Despite being among the richest countries in the world, India has attracted negative attention in recent years as the second most unequal country in the world, after Russia.” About 80 percent of India’s wealth is controlled by just 10 percent of the population and 60 percent by 1 percent. India’s challenges are rooted in the traditional caste system. Hassan concludes by reminding that widening inequality threatens societies by shrinking the middle class along with democratic systems and culture while increasing the potential for conflict. – YaleGlobal