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By The Numbers

A world of inequality

Janet Nguyen Apr 4, 2016

Welcome back! Here are your need-to-know numbers for Monday.   

Everything is scarce in Venezuela. Diapers. Flour. Rice. Milk. Bug spray. Everything except for oil. With a GDP that shrank 10 percent last year and inflation that runs at an estimated 400 percent, the country has been dubbed by some as having “the most miserable economy in the world.” For those who can afford it, the black market is a solution. As part of our ongoing series “The Resource Curse,” Marketplace’s Scott Tong learned about the scalping underworld from a woman named Nazareth who can ask for a good’s price up to 25 times its normal rate. Her practices enrage some, but the job comes with life-threatening dangers. “Nazareth apologizes for nothing. She’s simply trying to survive in this collapsed petro-state,” Tong writes.

Lack of food can be a signal of inequality, and so can a lack of access to the digital realm. That’s why the Federal Communications Commission has approved a $9.25 broadband subsidy aimed at getting more low-income households on the internet. For students, not having a high-speed broadband connection can mean getting left behind in school. The new subsidy has the potential to bring in more cable providers who will be able to provide their services to consumers, creating increased competition among companies.   

One potential contributing reason to the world’s inequality: offshore deals. The Panama Papers leak revealed that many top politicians and celebrities have been using shell companies to hide their money. Among them is the family of Chinese President Xi Jinping. This announcement is an especial blow to Xi because of his supposed anti-corruption stance: he launched an anti-corruption campaign three years ago that has led to the punishment of 300,000 party officials.

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