Examples of such countries are

  • India (they have immense wealth, despite the pictures of the slums)
  • Romania (only good jobs are in criminal gangs)

Where the country has riches, but the people there don't have viable jobs they can take.

I wouldn't call the countries deprived, but they are something.

  • In the UK it's not uncommon for people to say the US is less egalitarian than Britain, because Americans seem to tolerate richer rich people, and poorer poor people than we do. I don't think we have a standard version for the opposite, unless you count things like more unequal, more stratified, etc., which are either vague or uncommon. Oct 19 '11 at 18:20
  • I'm downvoting this because it is a political question dressed up as an English language one. The use of "deprived", a heavily loaded political term, in the question, is evidence of this. Oct 19 '11 at 19:56
  • I don't understand. Nowhere in my question asks people of their opinions on politics. I just want a word to describe mass wealth (or anything) that is divided unequally with a big share difference.
    – desbest
    Oct 19 '11 at 20:14
  • Upvoting as this is clearly an English question which happens to relate to a political concept. Were this a political question it would be stated as What is the term for Saudi Arabia's huge rich / poor divide with the focus on the inequality in a specific political entity with no context and the English question as a red herring.
    – dotancohen
    Aug 30 '12 at 5:06

The word I would use for a large divide is stratified.


The word kleptocratic is often applicable, though it may not be suitable to describe all economically stratified countries.

A kleptocracy is a state ruled by corrupt leaders who hoard the nation's wealth for themselves and their cronies, keeping the masses impoverished while they lead lavish lifestyles.

  • As you note, this assumes that the reason for the disparity is greedy and corrupt rulers. One could imagine many other reasons for such a disparity, for example, (a) a diverse population where one segment values education and hard work while another segment tends to be lazy and unambitious; (b) racism, where the disfavored race is oppressed out of malice rather than greed; etc
    – Jay
    Oct 19 '11 at 17:14
  • ...or the one I'd argue applies to India (c) the country is developing, but there just aren't yet enough of the new good jobs to go around.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 19 '11 at 17:55

We (here in the USA at least) would often refer to countries run by a wealthy elite for their own benifit while the masses remain in poverty as Banana Republics.

There has been some talk here lately around our growing wealth disparity that the USA itself is becoming a Banana Republic.

There is an implication in this that the elite are trying to keep things that way (or make them worse). For that reason, I'm not sure it would be entirely fair to refer to India that way. Someone more expert on that country may disagree though...

  • Isn't a Banana Republic a nation operated for profit? The wikipedia link even mentions as much in the second paragraph. Although Banana Republics typically have large wealth disparities, calling any country with a wealth disparity a Banana Republic is clearly wrong.
    – dotancohen
    Aug 30 '12 at 5:11
  • @dotancohen - Generally I do hear the term used for countries that could fairly be termed Kleptocracies, if that's what you are getting at.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 30 '12 at 12:29
  • I'm thinking more of the Central American nations with US-instilled governments favourable exports towards the US, however this may be an outdated usage of the term as it seems to be likely the origin of the term.
    – dotancohen
    Aug 30 '12 at 14:59

I propose calling these marginalised countries? Anyone got any better ideas?

Update: I found a great word but it doesn't work in the context. disparity

A great difference.


What about capitalist? Generally not the political elite controlling wealth but the wealthy businessmen controlling the government.

  • 1
    I'm not sure if that was meant to be a serious answer or a political comment. But assuming the former, I'd say: As opposed to what? In the old Soviet Union, which of course was communist, the top party members lived a whole lot better than the average person. In feudal societies the nobility lived better than the peasants. It's not at all clear that capitalism results in greater disparity of wealth than other systems; there have been studies that find it results in less disparity. But in any case, that's certainly not part of the definition. It's a consequence -- real or not.
    – Jay
    Oct 19 '11 at 17:19

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