The distribution of wealth in Austria is particularly "unjust," Matthias Schnetzer from the Chamber of Labour (AK) claimed at the presentation of the Independent Annual Economic Report on Friday.
Schnetzer said the 0.77 Gini coefficient of Austria puts it higher than other eurozone countries, shown through the fact that the wealthiest 10 percent of people in the country own 62 percent of the total assets.
Further, the wealthiest one percent of people own 24 percent of assets, with only Germany having a similarly high concentration of wealth. This is not just a moral issue but also negatively affects growth, the expert said.
In an interview with the APA Schnetzer called for a higher taxation of capital in the EU, along with a coordinated wage policy that would see wages increase in tandem with productivity growth.
He said productivity increases in both Austria and Germany have hardly been reflected in wages since the year 2000, unlike in many other countries where wages have increased ahead of productivity.
The problem has led to the creation of a vicious cycle, the rising inequality leading to unemployment, given that the poorest members of society spend a higher proportion of their income on average, in turn leading to falling demand, and finally less investment, the AK expert said.
Should deflation come into the picture the situation would be exacerbated further, he added, meaning the issue takes central importance in the Economic Report.