By Pooya Stone
The spread of poverty among the people in Iran is a topic that is frequently discussed by the media and government experts. The catastrophe of poverty is so bad, that poor people are now posting ads about their needs, including the need for food.
In this regard, the official IRNA news agency on 3 September 2019 published a shocking report on the poverty of people and their posting of food needs on the walls and on websites. They are in need of items such as kitchen necessaries, potatoes, onions, pasta, rice and more.
These poor people have turned to social networks because they are ashamed of being in the public arena and sharing their needs with people directly.
On the depth of poverty and class divide, the state-run newspaper Kayhan wrote: “To look at the class divergence, you don’t need to look at men/women who are on the street corners begging the driver of luxurious cars while knocking on car windows and saying, ‘Sir, would you buy a fortune teller card?’ Just take a tour of the capital from the greengroceries of the rich areas of the city to the green groceries of the poor areas, and the break times of the luxury schools to the old school settings around the town. Of course, you don’t have to go to the outskirts of the city, just go to areas down to see the social gap.”
“The unequal distribution of income and wealth has deepened the class gap,” says a government expert, Hossein Raghfar. (State-run Fararu website, 20 October 2019)
According to Ali Rabbi, spokesman for the government of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, 90 percent of the country’s resources are consumed by 10 percent of the society.
Iran’s statistic center’s report on the class divide and the gap between rich and poor in the past year illustrates this fact.
According to the center’s report last year, the Gini index of households in the entire country rose to 0.4093, which is an increase of 0.0112 units compared to 2017.
The Gini index is a measure of the distribution of income across income percentiles in a population. A higher Gini index indicates greater inequality, with high-income individuals receiving much larger percentages of the total income of the population.
The Fars News Agency quoted the report of the statistic center and wrote: “The reasons for the class divide in Iran have been identified”.
“Despite the government speaking about economic growth, the statistics are showing the increase of the Gini index and the increasing of the class divide”, the report said.
“As the Gini coefficient rises, it means the income distribution in the country is more unjust, meaning that the rich get more out of the economy, and the poor get smaller.” The Gini coefficient has been rising every year since the eleventh government, reflecting an increase in income inequality and class divisions among different segments of society.” (Fars News Agency, 2 September 2019)
Government experts see the class gap as unprecedented and dangerous, so that some people, like Hossein Raghfar, warn of the “Sao Pauloisation” of Iranian society.
The situation is so dire in terms of class divisions that Iran’s situation is becoming like Sao Paulo in Brazil, one of the prominent manifestations of inequality, poverty, corruption, and the widespread class divide in the world, government experts say.