Inclined to Liberty: The Futile Attempt to Suppress the Human Spirit Chapters 13 and 14 The author cites a very interesting study, Economic Freedom of the World 2005, by the Fraser institute The study reports that regardless of the degree of economic freedom, the index of which is based on the degree of personal choice, freedom of voluntary exchange, protection of person and property, the right to keep earnings and th e freedom to enter and compete in markets, among 128 countries 9comprising 93% of the world's population), the percentage share of income by quintiles from 1998-2002 remained about the same in each country. Countries with greater freedom had higher per capita incomes but irrespective of the average level of per capita income of a country, the percentage distrubution of income for ascending quintiles settled out at approximately 6%, 11%, 15%, 21% and 47%. These figures seem to indicate that income quintile tiers are a natural distribution much like a bell curve and remain largely unchanged in terms of percentage regardless of the attempts to equalize them. The caveat of these numbers is that they are but a mere snapshot of a population at any given time and it is easy to assume they are static. that is that the people in the lower quintile are a fixed group. This is not true however. We see that the lowest quintile of earners has the least number of people and also the youngest people as should be assumed. income mobility or the freedom to move up in the quintile tiers make income gaps even more meaningless. Econ 309 Home Page (lecture 13 Economic Myths and reality) The above lecture details that in the US only 5% of those in the lowest quintile in 1975 were still in the same quintile in 1991. By 1991 59.3% of those people had mobilized to occupy the top 2 quintiles, while 35.6% mobilized to the second and third quintiles. take the natural quintile distribution tiers and the fact of income mobility into account and one can safely say the statement, "The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer" is utterly false. Any attempt to attenuate the higher quintlies incomes only results in a depression of income over all quintiles with the relative percentages remaining about the same.