Reflections

– Hello, is this the math department?
– Yes, speaking. Who is calling?
– A politician.
– A politician? Nice of you to call! You do not call every day, so it is extra nice when you do. What may I do for you?
– I need a number.
– How is 5?
– No, that won’t do. I need a number for every country in the world.
– And 5 won’t do?
– The number should reflect how income or wealth is distributed in the country.
– I see.
– 0% means it is equally distributed and 100% that is far from it.
– To calculate such a number will not be easy.
– I don’t care.
– And it has to be taken with a grain of salt. 
– I don’t care.
– In some cases it may be misleading.
– I don’t care.
– Then I have the number for you.
– Really? That is great!
– The number is called the Gini coefficient
– What is the Gini number for Denmark and Namibia?
– 23.2% and 70.7%.
– That makes sense. I guess income is more evenly distributed in a Nordic country than one in Africa. 
– Glad the number fits in with your prejudices.
– How is the Gini number in the US evolving? Is it going up or down?
– You don’t want to know.

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