Talk:Distribution of wealth

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Some parts of this page involved redistribution of wealth, which involves politics. It was moved to wealth redistribution because that page involves the politcs involved with wealth inequalities. This page is meant to be for statistical analysis of wealth, which is separate from any political interpretations of this statistical data. As is stated in the intro, "The statistical study of the distribution of wealth is designed to provide data, not recommend policy."

I would like to make an addition to this page. Below is the link to a graphic that compares the GINI index for wealth distribution to the GDP per capita for most of the countries around the world.


The data is open source and verifiable. The trend is pretty compelling showing that the richest countries have the best distribution of wealth.

I would appreciate any feedback on this topic. Should I include this topic on this page, or should I create an entirely new topic?

Please send inputs to

Thanks! Pat R

the graphic at the Top of the page is very old! Its from the year 2000! This should be updated -sean — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maddogxlt (talkcontribs) 22:26, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Placeholder text[edit]

Dude, what the hell? It looks very unprofessional to leave a template of sorts in place of the final text. That sort of thing should go on the talk page.

Sorry. Here are questions that still need to be answered:

  • 1)what is the total amount of wealth in the world.
  • 2)what is the total amount of income in the world?
  • 3)what is the total amount of wealth in each individual country?
  • 4)what is the total amount of income in each individual country?

A statistics section that shows the data should be added.

Distribution of Wealth does not just refer to global distribution and the stats arent necessarilly whats important; the important thing is the distribution in an economy between the producers and those that control the surpluis. This is going to require a graph with a few common points on it: Rawl's point, Nash's point, Bentham's point, and a point that represents feudalism or slavery. I hope someone is familiar with what Im talking about and willing to put in the effort to edit the page.

The political systems of socialism and communism are intended to diminish the perceived conflicts arising from unequal distribution of wealth. They attempt to do so by forcing wealthier members of society to surrender some or all of their assets to the state in a process sometimes called redistribution of wealth. The State then administers all public assets.

Isn't communism stateless by definition?

Kenji Yamada 00:32, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Collapsed non-productive discussion
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

We have too many rich asses. We should seize their wealth and divide it evenly among all people.

Who are "we"? Who has the right to take someone else's property. Aren't there laws against such activity in every civilized nation? What gives you the right to share in someone else's wealth or property? Here's an idea, go out and earn your take instead of taking someone else's earnings.Scurry64 (talk) 16:09, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Dividing the wealth evenly doesn't work, because nobody values what everybody shares. Keeping the wealth in the hands of the few doesn't work either. What worked very well until Bush dismantled it was an income tax that kept the wealth moving. Rick Norwood 18:59, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
What is desirable about stealing? What gives you the right or authority to determine how wealth is distributed? Where does one get off determining who gets what? I don't understand the arrogance the leads one to determine how much of anything everyone should have. If you want a planned society, then go somewhere and create your own. Create your own opportunities rather than being a social parasite.Scurry64 (talk) 16:09, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

I wish we lived in a cashless society where we worked to better the world as in the fictional world of Star Trek. Money is paper when you get down to it. One idea that I have heard is the placing of caps on all income. For example, the wealthy are allowed to retain an income flow of one million annual income but anything over that would be seized by the government and used to benefit the rest of society. No one person can spend 50 billion dollars, Bill Gates, so why should they be allowed to keep it when it could be redistributed within society where it could do greater good. It has been argued that the war on poverty has been a dismal failure and I agree that it has failed but only because the money was spent on massive and corrupt government agencies. The easiest solution is to give the money directly to the people. Please let it be known that I realize that there are great logistics in any plan such as I am supporting but unless we end class warefare our society will suffer greatly in the next century. I believe in massive income redistribution and this is coming from a conservative republican.

Your not a conservative. Your ideas are not conservative. Star Trek? Really? Who has the right to determine how much money someone else may earn? Where does that right come from? Who has the right to determine how much money someone else needs? Who has the right to seize the surplus income? Where do these rights come from? All these lofty ideals and no foundation to support them.Scurry64 (talk) 16:09, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I cannot help but express my opinion on these remarks, and I have to say that they are absolutely ridiculous. "We should seize their wealth and divide it evenly among all people"? This individual has no understanding of what "wealth" is, how it is created, and how a society should function properly. Wealth is not a static entity that exists in a fixed, finite amount in the world. Before it can be "redistributed", it must be created. How is wealth created? By the minds of businessmen. Do not say that physical labor and toil is what creates wealth, because every age prior to the birth of semi-capitalism had an abundance of it. It was only when men realized the central role of the mind in human survival and the necessity of applying it to the problem of production was wealth finally created. The question is often raised: how should wealth be "redistributed"? This question can only be raised if the one who asks it does not believe in the concept of individual rights, and more specifically, property rights. In order to survive, man must live by the exercise of his rational faculty and produce, by rational thought, those things he needs in order to survive. If man cannot dispose of his effort (in other words, if he does not have control over his property, the product of his mind), he cannot dispose of, and has no right to, his life. Laissez-faire capitalism is the only moral social system, not because it creates abundance for all people (although this is true), but because it is the only system consonant with man's rational nature, and because it is the only one that recognizes the principle of individual rights. Yes, selfishness is profoundly virtuous! Mankind will only survive if individual men are free to think, to produce, and to live. Enslaving them to the needs of "the people" will damn man, damn existence, and end any hope of good in the future. Death to collectivism...long life to laissez-faire capitalism! (By the way, I need to make this point absolutely clear: I am not a conservative or a liberal, but rather a "libertarian", heavily influenced by the thought of Ayn Rand. Conservatives are not defenders of capitalism.)

Mean Distribution[edit]

If a poor has income of US$ one and Wealthy has income of US$ 2,500 than their mean income is say US$ 1,250.

Not quite. It depends on the number of poor and the number of rich. If 100 poor people each have $1 and 10 rich people each have $2,500 the mean wealth is ($1 x 100 + $2,500 x 10) / (100 + 10) = $228 per person. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shae (talkcontribs) 06:56, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

In India one who works in Gold Mine get some Gold whereas poor farmer get many Kgs. of Sand.

In order to make this issue clear, additionally to the mean distribution the median or the cardinal social welfare function (as explained by Amartya Sen and James E. Foster in On Economic inequality)can be used. --DL5MDA (talk) 17:27, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Work toward removing the cleanup tag.[edit]

I've done some work toward removing the need for a "cleanup" tag, including fixing some bad grammar, adding references, and breaking the article into sections. The two things I see the article most in need of are 1) more data and 2) a shorter list of external links. A picture would be nice -- maybe of Scrooge McDuck in his money bin (but Disney would have a mouse). Rick Norwood 17:20, 18 September 2006 (UTC)


Other organizations should be mentioned


I would recommend that the links be gone through, any redundant or irrelevant ones removed, and descriptions added. I'd do it myself, except I'm currenty trying to write a paper on this topic :-P. ( 22:19, 1 March 2007 (UTC))

Indeed, there's a lot of linkspam here. Riki 11:43, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Distribution of Wealth or Income[edit]

In the US Discussion, the gini given is for income even though the article just got done explaining that there is a difference between income and wealth. The map shows ginis for income. This is largely replicated in the gini article itself. -- 21:55, 21 June 2007 (UTC)MZF

I'll echo the same point. My first reaction when I saw the opening paragraph, then the issultration, is that someone is confused about the distinction. How ironic that the very next section notes that many are confused.

Ideally, someone can find a map or graphic representing wealth, rather than income.

The following link is broken and I've been unable to find the referenced document to correct it:

    The UN-WIDER World Distribution of Household Wealth Report  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:56, 8 March 2008 (UTC) 
The article mixes wealth and income in an incoherent fashion. If one is discussing wealth one wants the discussion to confine itself to that. There is nothing to tell anyone how much wealth, in dollars, would be required in some recent year to be in the top one percent or top one half of one percent. That is what people want to know. But this article doesn't provide it. Lotsa luck to Wiki to get money from people for such lousy articles.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:16, 29 December 2012 (UTC) 

Regressive taxation, but not progressive taxation.[edit]

The part where it says that the United States has a progressive taxation system is a lie. The United States federal government has enforced the most ruthless forms of regressive taxation since the founding of the United States, and the government's regressive taxation policies have hurt people like me. In the United States, the low-class is taxed higher while the high-class are taxed lower, which is why our economic system is screwed up because not hardly any money is coming in because the government is taxing the people who don't have any money.

All of this is a fact, not an opinion.

Ожиданиесчастья (talk) 06:35, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Actually, what you say is a mix of fact and error. When the US was founded, the federal government did not have the power to tax, and collected its revenue from tarrifs. The power to tax was given to the federal government in 1913, in the 16th ammendment. At first, the tax was a "flat tax", but in the mid 20th century it became strongly progressive, with taxes on the rich rising as high as 90%. The Republicans replaced the progressive tax favored by the Democrats with a regressive tax which is still in effect today. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:01, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
US Federal income tax is progressive. Capital gains, however (that is, income made from selling an investment for more than you bought it for) is taxed at a much lower rate, as it is in most countries. Since Warren Buffet makes most of his money through investments rather than a wage or other "regular income", he has a lower rate. TastyCakes (talk) 20:46, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
The US system is by definition progressive (the percentage of income paid by high income earners is higher than that of lower income earners). Whether it has the redistributive effects desired or not is an open question; it clearly depends on one's tastes. Certainly the US taxes high-income people less than many counties. CRGreathouse (t | c) 02:21, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
The US income tax system is a progressive marginal tax. For each dollar earned above a specified amount a marginal tax is imposed. How anyone can say it is regressive is beyond comprehension. If the our tax system was regressive, each dollar earned above a specified amount would be taxed at a lower rate. This is not now, nor has it ever been, the case.
Collapsed argument
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

In the United States, the low-class is taxed higher while the high-class are taxed lower, which is why our economic system is screwed up because not hardly any money is coming in because the government is taxing the people who don't have any money.

In the United States the "low class" doesn't pay any federal income tax. I'm having a very difficult time figuring out what the rest of this means and "not hardly" having any luck. I suspect the reason "not hardly any money is coming in" isn't because "the government is taxing" you. I suspect its because you failed to take your education seriously and are now unable to get a job that doesn't require you to ask if I want fries with that.

Barack Obama[edit]

Barack Obama talked with Joe the Plumber about "spread the wealth around" when he met him in Ohio. This has been part of the campaing of John McCain. I see socialism here. Can anyone explain this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:47, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like you're asking for a political discussion, but this isn't a discussion forum. CRETOG8(t/c) 05:37, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

This is an encyclopedia article, not a forum.[edit]

The article had turned into a forum, and started to argue with itself. I've removed a number of topical or unreferenced sections, and added some references. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:05, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Characteristics of wealthy nations and poor nations[edit]

Almost all of the poorest countries have a dictator or president-for-life, a government controlled economy, corruption, and a high birth rate.

This is a ridiculous statement and should be removed immediately. It contains little to no factual accuracy and the given source is not verifiable. Really, the entire section should be removed, or at least re-written.

Thanks, Vivaperucarajo (talk) 22:40, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Even if it were accurate and verifiable (which it isn't), it is unspecific and clearly biased.

In the US[edit]

I commented the following out of the US section:

Also, it is not wealth but income that is taxed in the United States (with the exception of estate taxes upon death). Capital gains taxes are also lower than regular income taxes. This means, for instance, while Warren Buffett has an estimated net worth of $62 billion (2008), ranked one of the richest men in the world, his taxable income in 2006 was $46 million (2006), about 0.1% of his net worth. And because most of his income was made as capital gains, his tax rate was a below-average 17.7% (2006).

This is inaccurate, or at least deceptive. The main tax that stockholders pay is corporate tax, not capital gains. Warren Buffet may only pay ~$8 million in income and capital gains yearly, but he pays about ~$665 million yearly in corporate tax (via Berkshire Hathaway; other holdings may add to this).

I'm not sure how this should be handled in the article. If this paragraph is deemed relevant (this is not obvious to me; tax policy seems quite distinct from wealth distribution) then it should consider the issue fairly and through reliable sources.

CRGreathouse (t | c) 02:18, 19 January 2010 (UTC) The coporate tax issue is an errant subterfuge. Buffet pays no corporate tax at all. Where do yu get such strange ideas? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Imersion (talkcontribs) 17:55, 25 August 2011‎ (UTC)


Lawrencekhoo, your new intro changes from the analogy of speed and position to not being much of an analogy at all. I must say that I find the original intro clearer and more to the point. Are you very married to your new intro or can I revert? :-) What does others think? --OpenFuture (talk) 07:58, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

With no comments I'll change it back now. It was clearer before, IMO. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:57, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

What "mixed economy" and "socialism" mean.[edit]

The claim that most wealthy nations today have a mixed economy which combines capitalism and socialism has been twice reverted, replaced with the claim that most wealthy nations today are capitalist. Please explain. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:53, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

About Rick Norwoods change [2], as they don't follow generally accepted definitions of what "Mixed economy" and "Socialism" means. Having social benefits is (despite what the name may imply) not socialism. Socialism is common ownership of the means of production. And A mixed economy is when you have both common and private ownership of means of production. To have a mixed economy you need to have the state own a significant part of factories, companies, hospitals, etc. And although this is not uncommon in for example Europe, it is not something that signifies all rich economies in any reasonable meaning, and in fact many poor countries also have a lot of public involvement in the economy.
In addition, the changes were unsourced, so I reverted that change. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:53, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Here is what Wikipedia says mixed economy means. "A mixed economy is an economic system that includes a variety of public and government control, or a mixture of capitalism and socialism." The statement is referenced. As for the meaning of "socialism", that has changed over time. Originally it was a synonym for communism. Today, it has a much broader meaning. However, I want this article (and all articles) to be unambiguously clear. Can you suggest a formulation that does not imply either pure capitalism nor (in the older sense) socialism, but a combination of the two, such as all developed nations have today? Rick Norwood (talk) 15:06, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

The thing is that it is not true. All developed nations do NOT have a mix of capitalism and socialism. Most probably do, but all do not. And the same goes for undeveloped nations. Hence, you can not claim that this is something that signified rich nations, which the section is about. In fact, if we look at how much government control and government ownership there is, then there is a clear correlation between loads of government involvement, ownership and control and poverty. Hence, it's more true that having a mixed economy is something that signifies poor countries, not rich.
I thought that you meant that most developed countries have a social security network, which is true. But now it seems like you are actually trying to say that it is a characteristic of a wealthy nation that it has a mixed economy, and it's simply not correct. --OpenFuture (talk) 16:58, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
The claim was threefold:
1. Almost all of the wealthiest nations have a capitalist business sector
2. Almost all of the wealthiest nations have socialist benefits for the poor and working classes
3. Almost all of the combination of the two constitute a mixed economy.
I dispute the truth of #2 and the relevance of #3. If #2 was modified to
2. Many of the wealthiest nations have socialist benefits for the poor and working classes
then I would agree, but then the statement is not relevant to the subsection.
CRGreathouse (t | c) 20:00, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually none of the nine sources used for the definition of Mixed economy say that it is "a mixture of capitalism and socialism". Instead they say it has characteristics, features or elements of both or is a third way between the two. It seems like an over-simplification and notice the sources are mostly American dictionaries. It seems to be POV. I would change "socialist benefits" to "social benefits". The Four Deuces (talk) 10:13, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
How is that different from saying that it's a mixture? If you take characteristics features and elements from both, is that not a mixture in any reasonable way? Anyway, it's clear if you look at the facts that rich countries generally are *more* capitalist, not less capitalist, so the statement of mixed economy being a characteristic of rich countries continue to be incorrect. I think some people are confused about this because they make the mistake of thinking that social benefits is somehow socialism, when it's not. This confusion, I'm sure, is also fueled by conservatives who try to smear things like public health insurance with the atrocities of communism. But it's important on Wikipedia to not fall for that kind of rhetoric. Social benefits are not socialism, and not a mixed economy. --OpenFuture (talk) 10:54, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
If the sources do not specifically make a claim then it is original research to form a conclusion about what they meant. It is true for example that socialism combines features of conservatism (collectivism) and liberalism (equality), that it uses conservative means (coercion) to achieve liberal ends (freedom) or that it represents an alternative to both conservatism and liberalism. But it would be misleading to say that is was a mixture of conservatism and liberalism. The Four Deuces (talk) 17:52, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
1. It's not a conclusion. 2. Why do you think "Mixed economy" is called "mix" if it's not a mix? 3. The article doesn't claim that mixed economy is a mix. I do, and I do it as a part of the explaining of why the edit was reverted. That's not OR, its an *explanation*. You can choose to listen or not, but the facts still stand: The claim that mixed economy is a characteristic of rich countries is false. 4. If anything here breaks WP:NOR it's that edit, which added the claim with no sources whatsoever. --OpenFuture (talk) 18:04, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
It is called "mixed" because it combines private and state ownership, not because it is "a mixture of capitalism and socialism". Assuming that this is the same thing is original research not reflected in the sources. The Four Deuces (talk) 19:24, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
Ah, and state ownership is socialism, and private ownership is capitalism. So it's a combination, or a mix, of capitalism and socialism. QED. And you still don't understand the difference between explaining something to the uneducated in a talk page, and entering original research in an article. --OpenFuture (talk) 23:37, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
Those are features of capitalism and some varieties of socialism. Your statement "state ownership is socialism" is a fringe view, and not explicitly stated in any of the sources. The Four Deuces (talk) 02:13, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
Eh, no that's not a fringe view. Anyway, it's clear now that you do not agree that a mixed economy is a mix of capitalism and socialism. Apparently is a mix of capitalism and something else, which you do not care to divulge to the rest of us. No matter, because I would then like to point out that the change we are discussing did use the word "socialist" and the edit summary said "every wealthy country today combines capitalism and socialism". It's pretty clear that not only is the claim that it's a characteristic of rich countries to have mixed economies false, you also disagree with the editors meaning of "mixed economy", which means that reasonably you should be *doubly* against the change in question. And that should reasonably end this discussion, but somehow I doubt it. So let me repeat: No matter if you agree that "mixed economy" is a mix of socialism or capitalism or not. The claim that it is a characteristic of rich countries to have a mixed economy is false. --OpenFuture (talk) 11:23, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

There has been some back-and-forth on the article, and I thought it would be best to discuss it here.

First, thanks to User:Rick Norwood for the references. I had added a few {{cn}} tags and he responded quickly with references that look good (though I'll admit I haven't read them).

  • I restored LK's opening, though I moved the analogy back to the original. The extra information seemed useful and the section appears to have support (though I don't feel strongly about this).
  • I removed the Jefferson vs. Adams example. I don't think it makes the main point "If an individual has a large income but also large expenses, their wealth could be small or even negative." clearer. Also, the article is already US-heavy if not US-centric; more weight on that side is not needed. Rick Norwood did add a reference but I don't doubt the statement's truth, just its relevance. (If it was needed at all, the proper place would be Stock and flow.)
  • I removed the Shakespeare quote; it doesn't seem relevant to the article. Similarly, I removed the USSR/PRC history as irrelevant.
  • I removed the sentence on the GDP increase in the US, ostensibly supporting "The combination of capitalism, technology, and social liberalism has diminished extreme poverty in the developed world today.". This supports that the US as a whole is wealthier, but not that the average person is wealthier, let alone the median person, let alone the poorest fraction. I agree that
    1. The US GDP rose over those 30 years
    2. Extreme poverty fell over those years in the US
    3. Extreme poverty has fallen in the developed world
    4. "The combination of capitalism, technology, and social liberalism" was responsible, at least in part, for #3
but I don't think that #1 implies #2, let alone #4.

CRGreathouse (t | c) 19:55, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Removing analogy in lede[edit]

I will remove the analogy in the lede because it is not accurate. It states, "This distinction is analogous to the difference between position and speed", where the distinction is between assets/wealth and income. This apparent analogy ignores expenditure; it it not simply the case that integrating income over time equals assets. Feel free to restore a better analogy that doesn't confuse the reader. AtSwimTwoBirds (talk) 08:56, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Article reads as sympathetic towards lower 40%[edit]

This article is biased which needs to be removed. I also think we should create a list of countries by citizen wealth or some such article. (talk) 19:53, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Redistribution of wealth and public policy- errors[edit]

"While the ideas of communism have throughout history enjoyed occasional popularity, they have seldom if ever worked in practice.[7]"

What? example needed! where have true communism been tried and failed?

"The combination of labor movements, technology, and social liberalism has diminished extreme poverty in the developed world today.[citation needed] But extremes of wealth and poverty continue in the Third World.[8]"

Does India, China, Vietnam, indonesia have free labor movements and social liberalism? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:24, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Good call. I'll check and see if it is referenced. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:07, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
It is referenced, but to make the statement closer to the reference, I've changed "communism" to "Marxism". Rick Norwood (talk) 12:13, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Removed reference to Norton and Ariely's paper[edit]

I removed it for the following reasons:

  1. This is not about US, which the paper is.
  2. The paper does not claim what the text claims.
  3. The paper does not show what the authors of the paper claims (the poll it's based on is fundamentally flawed and intentionally biased).
  4. Despite this being brought up on several other articles, the few people that want this text in the articles just keep on moving to new IP-addresses and new articles to add the same junk everywhere. --OpenFuture (talk) 11:55, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, the paragraph is about the US. # 2 is substanceless, please substantiate. #3 is in in conflict with WP:NOR. (##2 and 3 may conflict as well.) I dont get #4. Therefore I changed the text again. -- (talk) 12:07, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

  1. 1 And the article isn't. There are articles about US wealth distribution. If we should have opinion polls here, they should be global.
  2. 2 Read the paper.
  3. 3 No it's not.
  4. 4 I don't see how that makes a difference. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:32, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Question to the IP: Will you accept the outcome of a WP:THIRDOPINION request on this? --OpenFuture (talk) 12:35, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
The actual version has none of your above mentioned problems (which I do not share). I don't see a problem. -- (talk) 12:42, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
It has all of the problems. I asked a question, could you please answer it? --OpenFuture (talk) 12:44, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
The figure and text is still interesting for the article for two reasons. It shows that people, Americans idealize a certain distribution, believe something about the actual distribution and this totally differs from reality. Second, it is interesting for the section US. It could be extended in the article about the distribution in the US. Feel free to do so. But here is an US section and the figure fits here.
Lower your voice. I read the paper. And it does show this figure and it does say that the estimated, ideal and actual values differ.
Well, your link WP:THIRDOPINION does not exist. -- (talk) 12:55, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Oups, sorry. WP:3O works. So, will you accept the outcome of a third opinion?
Sorry about the tone, but I'm tired of this useless paper being dragged up again and again on different articles and have to fight about it with disruptive tendentious editors. --OpenFuture (talk) 13:04, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Ok. -- (talk) 13:24, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I take that as a "Yes" on the question. You will then be interested to know that there already is one, on using the same source. [3]. I quote:

It is the opinion of this editor that the section should be removed in its entirety as it gives that one poll undue weight. Furthermore its validity has been contested.

This is equally valid for this article. Making a statement about public opinion on one single flawed and contested poll, gives that poll undies weight and violates WP:NPOV. As you see this should not be included.
The best action forward now is if you delete the section in question. Another possibility is to find other opinion polls about the same topic, polls that *are* valid. (In fact, all they need to do is ask people if they want more or less wealth equality in the US). I haven't found any such polls, but I also don't really know where to look... --OpenFuture (talk) 13:56, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
So, you didn't accept the third opinion, then? Why am I not surprised. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:58, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, by now it is not exactly a overwhelmingly majority. With us, two people holding a, two b. Besides I find your argument, let's say, very scarce. -- (talk) 16:03, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, at first sight it is reliable source. You have to show that is not. With a reliable source. You haven't done that. Besides, I don't agree with the argument completely. Even if one agrees that there are flaws as you say, it does not really invalidate the results for this wikipedia article as I say above. -- (talk)
Third opinions are not about overwhelming majority. It's about getting a third person in one two persons disagree, as in this case, to stop the disagreement. We can do a new one for this article itself, but It's quite clear you aren't going to accept that, so I'll have to bump it up to RfC, I guess. Such a waste of time....
My arguments are overwhelming, and I'm pretty sure you know it, you just don't want to admit it. I *have* shown that it is not a reliable source. With another reliable source. At this point I would also prefer if you got a proper account name, so I don't have to deal with an IP-number which is impossible to remember. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:14, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Actually, no, they are not. And I would prefer some peer reviewed paper that states that Ariely/Norton's results are invalid. A blog entry on reuters does not really compete with a peer reviewed journal.
Concerning our privatle little original research talk: You talk about the shortcomings of the paper. Well, what I don't really see why these shortcomings (fictional-footnote "Sweden", and presenting of choices) does contribute to the fact that the respondents did give figures themselves how much wealth they would distribute to each quintile.
Given you see a flaw, wikipedia still holds:
  1. There is a flaw in the argument therefore the results are worthless is not true.
  2. Papers with flaws in arguments (are worthless and therefore) are no reliable sources is not true.
  3. Peer reviewed papers which are said to have flaws in their arguments are no reliable sources is not true.
  4. Especially: Peer reviewed papers which are said to have flaws in their argument shown by sources that are less reliable (like a blog entry) are no reliable sources is not true. --08:59, 26 August 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Therefore, you did not show at all that the actual sentence + figure does not contribute to this article:

the estimated and actual distribution of wealth in the US strongly differs.[1]

From left to right: top 20 %, second 20%, third 20%, 4th 20%, bottom 20%. The 4th 20% (0,2%) and the ‘‘Bottom 20%’’ (0.1%) are not visible in case of the actual distribution.

Put differently: You say the results are worthless/wrong etc. Show me the peer review paper that actually shows ''the estimated and actual distribution of wealth in the US strongly differs. is wrong. -- (talk) 09:35, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Obviously peer reviewed papers are preferable, but it doesn't work like that. When you criticize a paper you generally don't do that by publishing another paper. You may write a letter to the editor, but you do not make a new paper explaining the flaws. That's not how it works. What you therefore ask for is another peer-reviewed poll, that tests the exact same things, but without the bias, and untruths, to show that the first one is false. That doesn't exist, because when people do bad science on something that is ultimately pretty irrelevant, you don't spend valuable research money just to disprove them. Instead they just get ignored. And that is what would have happened here too, unless Norton and Ariely had tried to make a political point, and pushed out their erroneous conclusions to the general media, by claiming that "Americans prefer Swedens wealth distribution", something that very well may be true, but is in no way a possible conclusion from that paper.

If the paper had been widely quoted, that would be different, but it hasn't. Google claims 19 quotes, many of those are the same partisan blog post repeated on different places, only a one or two are from peer reviewed journals, and they all miss the bias. The peer review of the paper was done by psychologists, not sociologists or economists, and they can't be expected to catch the statistical and mathematical errors.

This paper pops up here because people who are more interested in pushing a political standpoint than in truth found out about the paper through media, and thinks it supports the viewpoint which they feel (correctly IMO) is the truth. But they don't care that the paper doesn't support it. Although I probably have very similar viewpoints to you when it comes to politics, I value science and truth higher than pushing my viewpoint. And unless I can convince you to change your viewpoint, we aren't going to come very far. So ask yourself: Do you really want Wikipedia to contain a great untruth, just because it supports your political standpoint? --OpenFuture (talk) 09:52, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

I value your standards. But in Wikipedia you have to value reliable sources most, not truth. So the question is not: Do you really want Wikipedia to contain a great untruth, just because it supports your political standpoint? It is: Do you really want Wikipedia to pursue original research just because you refuse the utters results of a peer reviewed paper because you don't agree methodologically with some aspects of it?
You would have to show with reliable sources that the paper is worthless. You haven't by now. On the contrary, the paper and the results of Norton/Ariely are under discussion in peer reviewed articles. In some seconds on google scholar I found several and I will link two:; Both abstracts (I don't have full access right now) don't mention anything like a rejection of the methodolgically and a total rejection of the results. On the contrary: The results are under discussion like in this paper: etc. -- (talk) 11:57, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Would I rather have original research than untruths? Yes. It's clear by now that you prefer lies that support your standpoint that the truth. Yes, both the first papers accept the completely false claim that the claimed "ideal distribution" somehow reflect what people actually would think is ideal. It is depressing that so few people understand these things. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:23, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Ok, then the case is closed. original research is a no go. (Btw, you are extremely exaggerating. A lie is an intentional false assertion. And, talking about the conclusions, you haven't even shown that the conclusion(s) are false assertions. You only critizised, in parts, the method they came to their conclusions. That does not make any of them wrong in itself.) -- (talk) 12:42, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I have shown that that the conclusions can't be made, I have criticized their methodology in deep, and I have shown that the numbers as a result are biased. And you know that this is so. So I am not exaggerating one bit. You know the numbers are wrong. You know most of the conclusions are unsupported by the paper. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:06, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Extended content
OpenFuture has some sort of personal vendetta against Ariely. He should remove himself from this discussion as personally biased. User talk:imersion
Please assume good faith.CRETOG8(t/c) 22:37, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Imersion: That's complete and utter bullshit, and quite insulting. I have shown and explained the numerous faults with the paper. It is the paper I have the problem with, not Ariely. And why you single out Ariely of the authors I also have no idea. I haven't got a clue who either Norton or Ariely is, I have never met them, and I don't care. There are no personal vendettas here, only a desire for truth and valid science. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:14, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Suggestion for compromise.[edit]

There is one conclusion That one can draw from Norton and Arielys paper, and it is this:

A majority of respondents provided a preferred wealth distribution that was more equal than what they estimated the US wealth distribution to be.

That is the only real conclusion you can get from that paper. I propose, as a compromise, that we adopt this sentence or something similar, but in the US article, not this one, as it is US specific. --OpenFuture (talk) 10:01, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

That is the only real conclusion you can get from that paper. That is one conclusion. It is not correct that it is the only one. See above. Also, this could be elaborated in the US article but a sentence like this can very well be content in the US section of this article. -- (talk) 12:00, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
OK, I reformulate: That is the only conclusion actually supportable by the paper. Having it in the US section would be WP:UNDUE. It's supposed to be a summary of the US article. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:17, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
There are two. -- (talk) 12:48, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
And which would the other one be? It can't be that people underestimate the US wealth inequality. The have been fed false information which leads them to have unrealistic expectations of what is possible. Would they underestimate it if they had been fed *no* information as well? Yes, I think so. But since they were fed false information, this conclusion is not valid. Do they prefer Swedens wealth distribution? No they don't, they were never shown it. Do people vote against their preferences? No, you can't draw that conclusion either, voting is not just about wealth distribution but involves many factors. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:56, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

There are two articles. -- (talk) 13:01, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, yeah. And? I see you can't come up with any other valid conclusion from the paper, but refuse to adjust the article based on this. You are intentionally adding false information to the article. --OpenFuture (talk) 13:36, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
? It is not helpful to say that this section is supposed to be a summary of one wikipedia article if there are two wikipedia articles.
I am not. You even believe the conclusions to be true, you said. You further original research by measuring peer reviewed articles by your methodogical standards. -- (talk) 13:50, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
It should then be a summary of both, obviously. My methodological standards are much lower than any survey institute would have to be able to make a reliable survey. That is in no way original research. The paper has not been peer reviewed by any peer in statistics maths or social sciences, but by psychologists and a philosopher. Yes, I believe the conclusions to be mostly true. But the paper does not support that, so that is just a guess. My (and your) belief that the conclusions are true aren't even OR it's just a hunch. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:02, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I believe the conclusions to be mostly true. Then don't hold against me I would contribute lies to this article.
But the paper does not support that. As long only a reuters blog entry holds that but other peer reviewed articles the oppposite I don't see how by Wikipedia standards you can hold that. -- (talk) 14:18, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
The data you have provided, I hold to be false. The conclusions without support. You know this. You therefore insist that information you know to be false and unreliable should remain.
All you need to do to see this is think a bit for yourself. I do not suggest to add any original research, as you claim, just to remove unreliable and incorrect statements. It is not WP:OR to identify falsehoods and remove them. WP:OR is about adding information that can not be supported. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:26, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
No, you hold it to be true. Yes, both the first papers accept the completely false claim that the claimed "ideal distribution" somehow reflect what people actually would think is ideal. It is depressing that so few people understand these things. you say above.
I do not suggest to add any original research, as you claim, just to remove unreliable and incorrect statements. That is original research, saying this paper is invalid. -- (talk) 14:37, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Now you seem to be saying that I hold it to be true that the data is false. This is correct, but I think you are twisting yourself into knots. :-) No, it is only original research if we add the claim "The data is invalid" to the article. There is no requirement to add all badly supported data in the world to Wikipedia. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:50, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Nope. In the quote you express your disatisfaction about the fact that mentioned peer review papers work with the results of the Norton/Ariely paper. Therefore you believe that they believe it to be correct. -- (talk) 14:54, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I believe they believe that what I know to be false is correct. And I believe you believe that I believe that they believe that what I know to be false is correct. Now I'm just gonna ignore your nonsense in the future, this is just a waste of time. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:00, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I believe they believe that what I know to be false is correct. That is no nonsense but relying on reliable sources. -- (talk) 15:26, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
I believe you believe I believe you believe I believe you believe I believe you believe I believe you understand what I mean with nonsense. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:41, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
No, I don't. You rank truth higher than reliable sources/no original research, I rank reliable sources/no original research higher than truth. That is the bottom line :-). -- (talk) 15:50, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
No, I rank truth higher than my political standpoint. You rank your political standpoint higher than truth. As mentioned multiple times: OR does not come into this. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:54, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Including information from a biased paper[edit]

Dispute about weather to include a short text based on one criticized but peer-reviewed paper, or if that would be WP:UNDUE. OpenFuture (talk) 13:51, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

The source that is at issue is Norton, M. I., & Ariely, D., "Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time", in Perspectives on Psychological Science January 2011 6: 9-12 --Noleander (talk) 22:01, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

IP account (talk · contribs) and (talk · contribs) (It's obviously the same user from two different IP's) insists on adding text based on a paper by Norton and Ariely [4]. This is despite the following:

  1. It gives WP:UNDUE weight to one single paper in a section that should be a summary.
  2. The paper is heavily biased: Reuters criticism by Felix Salmon [5], Unreliable source explaining more in depth: [6].
  3. Previous third opinions on similar texts based on the same paper has been rejected by those third opinions.

--OpenFuture (talk) 13:58, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

First of all you did not really show that it is criticized. Criticism in a blog entry does not really count. It was shown, on the contrary, that the results are under discussion. -- (talk) 14:11, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I did show that it was criticized, and you also found something that indicates that the results are under discussion. Yet you insist that the text and the data should remain, with no argument for why.
The blog entry I clearly marked with "unreliable source" above, because it contains a detailed explanation. It is for people that actually want to understand this paper, not to be used as a reliable source. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:19, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
  • RfC Comment: A few technical issues first, because they need to be said:
    • This entire article needs a copyedit, and the 'USA' section needs to be rewritten entirely - it reads like a laundry list.
    • If we are going to use that graph, we must include a legend for the color-coding, otherwise the graph is meaningless.
    • We must be clearer about what the quoted article is saying; the current description of it is misleading.
I believe the paper can be used - it seems to meet wikipedia's standards for inclusion, and doesn't seem to be promoting an obvious fringe view. The basic idea of the paper is that US citizens would ideally like the income distribution to be one way, that US citizens estimate the income distribution to be different from their ideal, that the actual income distribution is worse even than US citizens estimate it to be, and that the preference for the ideal state is largely independent of demographic considerations. Using the visual graph might produce undue weight in the current sorry state of this article, so I think the graph should be deleted (at least for the time being) and the reference should be limited to a text statement of the author's conclusions: e.g. "Norton and Ariely have shown that US citizens would prefer a more egalitarian distribution of wealth (similar to that found in Sweden), and that they significantly underestimate the current US wealth inequality. Both these findings are shared across the political spectrum, raising questions about ideloogical disputes over issues like taxation and welfare." --Ludwigs2 15:10, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
No, not "Similar to what is found in Sweden". That simply is nowhere to be found in that paper. I'm sorry, but you obviously didn't read any of the criticism of the paper. What they claim is Swedens wealth distribution is Swedens *income* distribution, which is completely different. I agree that you can say "Norton and Ariely have shown that US citizens would prefer a more egalitarian distribution of wealth than they estimate the US distribution to be", but that's it. They do not "significantly underestimate US wealth inequality" at all, the significantly underestimate *all* wealth inequality, partly because they were fed misleading information. The distribution they prefer is simply unrealistic, no country have ever had any distribution like that. Swedens distribution does in comparison actually look remarkably similar to the US distribution. Claiming that they prefer Swedens distribution is less true than claiming that 80% of the respondents prefer communism (although that wouldn't be true either). --OpenFuture (talk) 15:47, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
you obviously didn't read any of the criticism of the paper. Maybe Ludwigs2 does not rank the alleged shortcoming of the paper as high as you did. -- (talk) 15:53, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
They are not "alleged". Questions:
  1. Is the distribution labeled as "Sweden" the Swedish wealth distribution? Yes/No?
  2. Is any distribution except the one labeled "US" a real or even realistic wealth distribution? Yes/No?
  3. Since the survey respondents got fed the two above distributions, were they shown real and realistic income distributions? Yes/No?
  4. After being fed misleading information about a topic you are not previously knowledgeable about, will your judgements withing that topic be better or worse than somebody who has not been fed misleading information?
The shortcomings are not alleged. They are there for everyone to see, in the paper itself. The only way you can not know about them is if you haven't read the criticism and therefore do not know about these problems. --OpenFuture (talk) 16:00, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
I modified the section, changed the figure to the data of PBS and removed the estimated and ideal section of the figure. Partly since the figure is quite big for this section, partly as a compromise though I don't think you are following Wikipedia guidelines by using your standards rather than following the reliable sources. The sentence that US citizens would prefer a more egalitarian distribution of wealth, and that they significantly underestimate the current US wealth inequality. Both these findings are shared across the political spectrum, raising questions about ideloogical disputes over issues like taxation and welfare. is well founded by the peer reviewed paper itself as well as the peer reviewed paper which discuss this paper and take this as a result. You should remove the neutrality flag then. Thanks to Luwdigs2. -- (talk) 16:10, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
OpenFuture, I'm just responding to the RfC, and don't want to get involved in what is obviously a bee-in-the-bonnet situation. but let me just address your points, for clarity:
  • The authors clearly list the graph as the Swedish wealth distribution, not the Swedish income distribution.
  • The Swedish distribution is more-or-less irrelevant to the point being made (which has to do with American ideal vs American perceived vs American factual wealth distributions.
  • The difference between seriously underestimating American wealth distributions and seriously underestimating all wealth distributions is nit-picky semantics - the operative element is that they seriously underestimate wealth distributions
  • Your comment that "the distribution they prefer is simply unrealistic" and your comparison to communism are irrelevant and constitute original research on your part.
    1. ideals do not need to be realistic and egalitarian ideals do not of necessity boil down to communism
    2. your personal assessments of what is and is not realistic and what is and is not communist do not belong on wikipedia.
If this is the entirety of your argument, OF, then please do not waste everyone's time dragging this out. You have 5000 edits; you should know by now what a royal pain it is to deal with people who squabble over lost causes endlessly. Don't be one of those people, please. --Ludwigs2 20:54, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's clearly labelled as the Swedish wealth distribution. but if you read the text and a footnote, it turns out that it in fact is the Swedish *income* distribution. They did this, because the most equal country in the world have a wealth distribution that also according to the authors is "still extremely top heavy." This is not at all irrelevant to the point being made at all, as being fed false and misleading information will change the outcome of the questions later. By being shown an income distribution as if it is a wealth distribution the respondents are given an unrealistic view of how wealth distributions look and work. --OpenFuture (talk) 04:56, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Ah, you're right. But I still don't see the problem. They were trying to test what wealth distribution people preferred, and so they lied in order to present people with a relatively egalitarian distribution. Would it have made you happier if they invented a country instead - say, The Republic of Motlinaria - and made up an egalitarian wealth distribution for it? That would not have affected their research results one whit. The only difference between using Motlinaria with a fabricated wealth distribution and using Sweden with a fabricated wealth distribution is that using Sweden helps convince subjects to take the questions more seriously (research subjects tend to get snarky when confronted with too much imaginary material).
Keep in mind that this research does not have anything to do with the comparison country - the comparison country is simply there to give people a choice. If you want to critique this research there are other more meaningful concerns that could be raised. You're only complaint here seems to be that the researchers weren't being *honest*, which is a bit like complaining that farmers get mud on their hands - it is the nature of a social science researcher to be dishonest with subjects to keep the subjects from second guessing the research's purpose. But it's not really our job here at wikipedia to critique research; that's for other academics to do. --Ludwigs2 20:12, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Right, they wanted a more clear difference. But then you get two results from that. Firstly, you can no longer claim as has been claimed in the press, and as you mentioned above, that people prefer Swedens wealth distribution. Secondly, you can no longer use the numbers in people estimate of the US distribution and the "ideal" distribution, as you now have given them a skewed expectation of what are normal wealth distributions. You introduced a bias.
That bias is the same for their estimates of the US distribution as of their "ideal" distribution, so therefore (as per discussion with IP above) there is one thing we CAN say: People estimate the US wealth inequality to be higher than how they want it. That we can say. I suggested that we say that as a compromise with the IP, but it was rejected. --OpenFuture (talk) 04:28, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but but what you said here is incorrect (or at least pointless):
  • No one here has mentioned what the press has made of this article, so that's irrelevant
  • Using a fake wealth distribution for Sweden does not introduce a bias in the subjects (though it may introduce a bias in the press)
You cannot criticize the research itself - which seems perfectly valid - because the press is too ignorant to analyze research properly. The authors of this research clearly demonstrated what they intended to demonstrate - that US Citizens prefer a more egalitarian wealth distribution and underestimate the wealth inequality that actually exists in our nation - and it doesn't really matter whether the press understands them properly.
However, that doesn't matter. You are engaged in original research, trying to evaluate the correctness of this piece of research on your own; You are not qualified to do this. Find a published article that says what you're saying and we can cite it if it seems necessary to balance the viewpoint offered in this article. If you continue to try to remove this article by making analytical claims about its validity without referring to sources that make that claim, I will personally report you to an admin for violations of wp:NOR and for disruptive behavior. clear enough? Sorry, but that kind of thing bugs the hell out of me. --Ludwigs2 10:27, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
No one here has mentioned what the press has made of this article- Well, you said it too as well: "Similar to what is found in Sweden". That's why I brought it up.
Using a fake wealth distribution for Sweden does not introduce a bias in the subjects - Yes, it does, as explained above.
If you continue to try to remove this article by making analytical claims about its validity without referring to sources that make that claim - I have referred to a source. Here it is again: [7].
Sorry, but that kind of thing bugs the hell out of me - Yeah, well me to. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:55, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
OpenFuture, you are not listening to what I'm saying, and you are making senseless arguments:
  • This wikipedia article should not say that people prefer a Swedish wealth distribution over the US one, but that has no impact on the value or validity of the research paper
  • The article you cited says nothing that's pertinent to this wikipedia article"
    • the first three paragraphs discuss how news organizations like the HufPo and the NYT can easily misread this scientific article - this wikipedia article is not talking about that
    • the center block of the article discusses the actual wealth distribution of Sweden - this wikipedia article is not talking about that
    • the last two paragraphs are a mishmash scientific ignorance and opinion-mongering. It is unfortunate that people are clueless enough to get mislead by things like this, but the cluelessness of the news media and the general population does not reflect on the research or the researcher's conclusions
  • And finally, with respect to using a fake wealth distribution for Sweden, the only argument you've made about this is as follows:

    Secondly, you can no longer use the numbers in people estimate of the US distribution and the "ideal" distribution, as you now have given them a skewed expectation of what are normal wealth distributions

    This is where you engage in original research. There are two reasons we do not allow original research on wikipedia:
    • arguments you make yourself cannot be assumed to conform to any evidence or any appropriate methodology, the way published research can
    • when your OR violates basic principles of scientific methodology (as it most assuredly does), then I have to engage in OR to point out how much you've screwed the pooch, and then we end up in exactly this kind of stupid endless debate.
The research article is valid for what it claims. The fact that the HufPo and NYT (or other end-users of this research) might be too dense to understand the research properly is not relevant to this wikipedia article. the fact that the author you cite (Salmon) is annoyed over a more-or-less conventional research tactic is not relevant to this wikipedia article. The fact that you yourself make claims that are at odds with basic social scientific methodology is not only irrelevant to this wikipedia article, it is a violation of wp:NOR.
If and when this bit of research is cited widely enough that the confusion over Swedish wealth distributions becomes a noteworthy problem, then we can add in your article as a clarification. Until that time, you should drop this. --Ludwigs2 15:52, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
OK, I will drop it, but I protest both about your statement that I somehow make claims that are at odds with basic social scientific methodology. That is an absolute falsehood. Your comment that what I say makes no sense may have something to do with that, as you apparently do not understand what I say. It is not at odds with basic social scientific methodology to make unbiased polls. That statement is beyond absurd. Secondly, your warnings for NOR are ridiculous as we are on a *talk page* and I'm allowed to explain things. WP:NOR has to do with adding original research to articles. --OpenFuture (talk) 16:35, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Include - The source at issue seems to meet WP:Reliable sources standards, and is clearly within the scope of the article. I see no reason to exclude it. Here is a quote from the abstract of the source: "... We attempt to insert the desires of ‘‘regular’’ Americans into these debates, by asking a nationally representative online panel to estimate the current distribution of wealth in the United States and to ‘‘build a better America’’ by constructing distributions with their ideal level of inequality. First, respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality. Second, respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution.... " I see no problem with including that material in the article, in fact, it seems very informative and is precisely the kind of detail that readers expect in good encyclopedia articles. If an editor feels that the information is misleading, the best solution is to add additional material that provides balance, for example, results from other researchers on similar studies (and, of course, that additional material must be sourced, and not merely an editor's opinion). --Noleander (talk) 22:06, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
God this is depressing. --OpenFuture (talk) 04:56, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
I added the information that US citiziens underestimate inequality of wealth. The study, people agree above, shows that. -- (talk) 09:28, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
No they don't. They agree that the paper can be used as a source, which I didn't want to. --OpenFuture (talk) 09:50, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the agree that the paper can be used as a source. And this source says that US citizens across the political spectrum significantly underestimate the current US wealth inequality. Therefore you can write, obviously: Dan Ariely and Michael Norton claimed in a study (2011) that US citizens across the political spectrum significantly underestimate the current US wealth inequality, which I did. Stop reverting. -- (talk) 09:57, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
And this source casts doubt on that: [8] and you have yourself during our discussion admitted that there are sources that cast doubt on the validity of those conclusions. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:55, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
OF: If you have sources that supplement/contradict or otherwise shed light on that Norton source, the best thing for readers is to include both in the article. Hiding the information is not encyclopedic. Better is to say something like "Researchers have come to various conclusions about the accuracy of American perceptions of the distribution of wealth. Scholar A found that ...., while researcher B concluded that blah blah". (or some similar wording). That is the best resolution here. --Noleander (talk) 15:07, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Sigh, I hoped it wouldn't dome to that. It means we need to say something like "Norton and Ariely claims X, although this result is cast doubt upon by Felix Salmon." Why can't we just include only the parts that actually are supportable by the paper? Isn't that better? Nobody else seems to have researched this, so it's an claim with very little scientific support anyway. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:28, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
The reason we cannot pick and choose is because that would require us, as editors, to interject our own subjective decisions. We would be passing judgement on what we feel is valid, or supported, or correct, or true. The WP:OR policy forbids editors from picking and choosing. As long as the source is reliable and scholarly, and within the scope of the article, we should include it. Again, the solution to your concern is to include additional viewpoints, so readers get the full picture. --Noleander (talk) 18:30, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Why delete "underestimate" sentence?[edit]

OF: You deleted the phrase (from the Norton paragraph) "... significantly underestimate the current US wealth inequality and ..". But the source says exactly that, it says "First, respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality. ". Do you think that the text does not accurately represent the source? --Noleander (talk) 18:46, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

"The cake is lie." And I'm tired of repeating myself indefinitely. I have given up. Write whatever you want. --OpenFuture (talk) 22:18, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

* Merrill Lynch „World Wealth Report“ 2011[edit]

Bad Pie Chart[edit]

The global distribution of wealth.

Here's the pie chart being discussed and the source of the data: James, Henry; The Price of Offshore Revisted: New Estimates for Missing Global Private Wealth, Income, Inequality, and Lost Taxes; pp. 5 second table, 2012. Guest2625 (talk) 08:05, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

The Global distribution of wealth pie chart totals 100.011%. (talk) 16:41, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

That's completely reasonable: 99.889% was rounded off to 99.9% because the figures in the chart have three significant digits. EllenCT (talk) 08:06, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
The pie chart appears grossly wrong. I removed. Contradicts the other data in the article and from reputable news sources. For example, the total global wealth is reported as around USD 200T; this chart only accounts for 54trn. . --Zojj tc 20:15, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

I have no idea if the pie chart is from a reliable source or not, but I'm puzzled by the comment that the chart "only accounts for 54trn", since the pie chart does not give any numbers, only percents. Where did the 63trn number come from? Rick Norwood (talk) 11:51, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

It has 4 sections, labeled with dollar amounts. USD 10.3trn, 17.4trn, 10.7trn, 16.7trn. Add them up and you only get 54trn. Also, the anonymous user that uploaded that image has a history of uploading bad images that have been later deleted. I've submitted a deletion request to the best of my meager ability. --Zojj tc 02:12, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
According to Henry James' report for the Tax Justice Network (TJN) the total liquid financial wealth in the world is approximately $55.1 trillion. This calculation is based on data from the World Bank, UN, and US Treasury. The Daily Mail has a graph from Credit Suisse which indicates historical values for total global wealth (image 9), however, it does not clarify what kind of wealth this is – if it is just liquid financial assets or also illiquid financial assets such as property. Without clarification on the Credit Suisse (CS) data the two sources are not inconsistent. Also the TJN and its sources of data can be considered highly reliable sources for information. Guest2625 (talk) 08:05, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Zojj: Thank you for the explanation. I didn't pick up on the meaning of those numbers. I hope the explanation about the difference between "wealth" and "liquid assets" explains the discrepancy. Still, I would like to see this chart replaced with one which expressed the data more clearly. I've written to Tax Justice Network for an explanation of the graph. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:13, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm doubtful that the "Tax Justice Network" is the most reliable or neutral source. Surely there are more reliable sources? bobrayner (talk) 17:15, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

In any case, they did not reply to my question. Rick Norwood (talk) 17:24, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

WOP curve[edit]

The WOP curve is certainly of interest, though I hope there is a better name for the curve. A google search suggests that the name WOP curve is not standard. The recent edit, which may still be in progress, has serious problems. I'll give that editor some time to improve his work, but he needs to preserve NPOV and provide more references. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:25, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Gini in Credit Suisse report[edit]


what exactly are the "Gini" numbers in the Credit Suisse report? They are markedly different from the Gini coefficients we have elsewhere and (in the case of Denmark) even violate the very definition of the Gini coefficient als a percentage. -- Carbidfischer (talk) 08:07, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

I think the Gini is calculated including negative wealth (debt), and for Denmark its pretty bad. PAR (talk) 15:04, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
I came here to report on this too. Can someone who know how this work figure out the issue? I noticed a discrpency with Denmark in this list versus this map: 2014 Gini Index World Map, income inequality distribution by country per World Bank.svg Delta13C (talk) 15:39, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Recent Distribution of Wealth in the World[edit]

Recent Distribution of Wealth in the World - what is this title? "Distribution of wealth" should be the title instead.


Looking at the pyramid grpahic, the numbers don't add up. 32m + 361m + 1,066m + 3,207m = 4,666m. The population of the world is around 7 billion people. Two billion people are missing. (talk) 13:28, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

Except the bottom axis says "number of adults" and the section it's in also talks of adults. The world population is over 7 billion (even in 2013) but the adult population is obviously less. I don't know the definition of adult used in for the pyramid, but Demographics of the world#Age structure 4.666 billion is likely resonable given that ~26.3% are 14 or less. Nil Einne (talk) 06:44, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Global Risk[edit]

"In the Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014 from the World Economic Forum the widening income disparities come second as a worldwide risk.[16][17]"

That's how the Oxfam report mischaracterized it, but the WEF actually ranked it second as a force shaping the near future (12-18 months). This is sufficiently political that the left bias of wikipedia would likely revert my edit. Lewis Goudy (talk) 03:44, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

No. Your statement is correct. No liberal I know would revert it, if it is referenced. I suggest you cite the WEF 2016 report rather than the 2014 report. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:18, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
    • ^ Norton, M. I., & Ariely, D. Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time Perspectives on Psychological Science January 2011 6: 9-12