Whereas within the advanced economies the trend has been towards greater economic and social equality, in the developing world development is tending to create new economic and social inequalities. In a general way, the developed countries are more egalitarian than the undeveloped because all classes of the population are better integrated into economic and social life, whereas in the less developed countries the obstacles to equality in education and the many forms of discrimination prevent certain groups from competing equitably with the others.
A third of the world's population still produces and enjoys some 85% of the world's wealth; and the momentum of development is such that, in general, the more developed economies are still developing more rapidly than the less developed, thus further increasing disparities which are already grave. The most advanced economies still include undeveloped and even primitive sectors; virtually all the less developed economies now include highly advanced sectors: thus an increasing number of economies reproduce within themselves all the disparities and variants of the world picture.
Whereas the structural upheavals that occur at the outset of economic development may increase differences and inequalities, the subsequent course of economic growth, accompanied by the spread of education, the extension of social security, the diffusion of ownership of the capital of large undertakings and the increase of income from work relative to income from property, contributes to a reduction of the general inequality of income distribution.