WESTERNERS on low incomes are better off than ever before thanks to cheap imports and efficient retailing, an influential Westminster thinktank will argue today.
Complaints of widening income inequality are frequently incorrect and misleading, the Adam Smith Institute report claims.
“A much greater array of goods and services are available to the poor, at substantively lower inflation-adjusted prices than ever before,” said the author, Dalibor Rohac.
Policies designed to address income inequality, which disregard measures of material consumption, too often ignore factors that embed real poverty, the report says.
“The poor are not harmed by economic inequality per se,” Rohac said. “They are harmed by bad institutions, barriers to economic opportunity, and privileges enjoyed by the selected few, at the expense of everyone else.”
Inequality across international borders remains a far greater challenge than within the UK, the report states. Trade barriers, migration restrictions, and subsidies that favour Western businesses should be scrapped, it says.