CHP and the income gap

CHP and the income gap

Have you noticed the title of the international economy workshop organized by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Istanbul on Dec. 8 and 9?

“Growth, Income Distribution and Economy Politics in the Globalization Era.” 

It is the “income gap” that I want to focus on and I think it is important that a party which has declared it is social democrat has highlighted this. 

Kemal Derviş, Vice President of the Brookings Institution, who was the moderator of the economy workshop, said both the world economy and Turkish economy are undergoing a change and social democrats have to do what is required for them to do. 

Derviş said, “Growth should be in accordance with social justice, with a proper distribution, in such a way that the poor should also benefit from it. The income gap is being debated everywhere because of increasing inequality.” 

According to OECD, Turkey, together with the United States, China and Mexico, is among those countries where the income gap is the biggest. 

According to data Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) has released last September, the 20 percent highest income segment of Turkey owns almost half of the total income. The income gap between the 20 percent richest slice and the 20 percent poorest slice is more than eight times. 

According to Forbes magazine, the number of dollar billionaires in Turkey has skyrocketed to become 10 times higher in 10 years. While they were only four in 2003, they have become 44 in 2013.

It is quite remarkable that in a 10-year span, while the number of dollar billionaires in the world increased by an average of three-fold, it has become 10-fold in Turkey.

Last week, it was also Professor Jorgen Randers from Norway, an expert on sustainability and climate strategies, who focused on “income gap” during his speech at Istanbul’s Bosphorus University. 

According to Randers, 40 years later, there will not be a food shortage in the world but because of the income gap, there will be poverty, thus “famine” will unfortunately continue; unless, of course, sustainable “social policies” catch up. 

Meanwhile, there are some voices of common sense coming from one of the champions of “income gap,” the U.S. 

Labor Secretary during the Clinton administration between 1993 and 1997, economist Robert Reich is one of the names that react against the income gap. 

He has even made a film, “Inequality for All.” 

In an interview to a French magazine recently, he has cited incredible figures.
In the United States, it is only the richest 1 percent who benefits from 95 percent of the economic growth in this country.

The assets of 400 rich in this country are equal to the assets of the 150 million poorest.

Robert Reich warns that this income gap is threatening democracy foremost and calls on Americans to share their richness. 

Consequently, as Kemal Derviş has emphasized, looking for ways for a more just income distribution in the world is the priority of those who call themselves social democrats. 

It is pleasing for Turkey, which is another champion, that CHP is working on that.