EDITORIAL

Inevitable inequality?

Science  23 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6186, pp. 783
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255661

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Summary

The world is unequal in many dimensions; even life itself is unequally distributed. In the United States and other wealthy nations, only 2 to 6 children out of every 1000 die before age 1, yet there are 25 countries where more than 60 out of 1000 do so. There are 10 countries, all in Africa, where per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) is less than 10% of U.S per-capita GDP. These gaps are a legacy of the Great Divergence that began 250 years ago, in which sustained progress in health and wealth in Europe spread gradually to the rest of the world. Will such gaps continue to be an inevitable consequence of progress?