Monday, June 02, 2003

Inequality increasing in Australia
'Land is still the dominant source of wealth. In 1915 it was the main reason 90 per cent of the wealth was in the hands of 20 per cent of the population. By 2000 land was much more widely held but dwellings still accounted for close to half of the total. The seriously rich, however, were more likely to be so from owning private businesses and securities than property. The concentration of wealth has gone from tight in 1915, to looser in the 1960s, and tighter again with the top 20 per cent accounting for about 63 per cent of wealth by 2000. When we were at our most egalitarian in the 1960s, the top 20 per cent of wealthy Australians controlled just over half of the nation's wealth. But the poorest 20 per cent had only l per cent, and since then that has halved to a pitiful 0.4.'

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