15 FEBRUARY 2011


Halifax: ‘Globalization’ is socially vilified for its apparent contribution to rising national income disparities, yet AIMS’ latest paper highlights that global trade has also contributed to substantially narrowing the income spread between countries. In The 99% Solution, AIMS Director of Research Don McIver argues that “the same economic forces that stimulate wealth generation in advanced countries also foster a more equitable income share for developing countries.”

McIver says that “the reality is that it may no longer be possible for labour in some advanced countries to command earnings many times higher than those in newly emerging economic powerhouses like China and India. Those countries are already investing heavily in the education and innovation that will result in them producing new high-demand leading-edge products.”

At the same time as middle incomes are evening-out around the world, the wealth-generating skills of the economic movers and shakers is becoming increasingly internationalized. The list of industrial billionaires, once heavily based in the United States is expanding sharply to include hundreds in the emerging giants.  Both the individual skill-sets and the financial capital necessary to create and dominate commerce are becoming increasingly stateless.

The 99% Solution, available online at:, sees the two trends: increased international income equality, and expanding individual capacity to generate wealth; as being connected and difficult to halt, even if we wanted to, which we should not. “Attempts to reverse these forces through complex international regulation are unlikely to prevent the spread of wealth (and risk) between nations—and a more even division of wealth and income would, in any case, seem consistent with the goal of individual human equity on a global scale,” says McIver.

The paper also recognizes that income distributions in many advanced countries have indeed swung in favour of the highest income earners, but cautions that appropriate comparisons should take into account the degree to which the rich DO pay a disproportionate share of taxes (as would be expected from a progressive tax system), as well as the redistributive impact of transfer payments. Using Canada as an example, McIver finds this more balanced approach places income disparity in Canada well within the OECD average, and considerably better than that found in the US.



For more information, please contact:

Paige MacPherson
Communications Officer
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
(902) 429-1143 ext. 228

Don McIver
Director of Research
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
(902) 429-1143 ext. 226