One of the world’s leading economists of inequality, Branko Milanovic presents a bold new account of the dynamics that drive inequality on a global scale. Drawing on vast data sets and cutting-edge research, he explains the benign and malign forces that make inequality rise and fall within and among nations. He also reveals who has been helped the most by globalization, who has been held back, and what policies might tilt the balance toward economic justice.
Global Inequality takes us back hundreds of years, and as far around the world as data allow, to show that inequality moves in cycles, fueled by war and disease, technological disruption, access to education, and redistribution. The recent surge of inequality in the West has been driven by the revolution in technology, just as the Industrial Revolution drove inequality 150 years ago. But even as inequality has soared within nations, it has fallen dramatically among nations, as middle-class incomes in China and India have drawn closer to the stagnating incomes of the middle classes in the developed world. A more open migration policy would reduce global inequality even further.
Both American and Chinese inequality seems well entrenched and self-reproducing, though it is difficult to predict if current trends will be derailed by emerging plutocracy, populism, or war. For those who want to understand how we got where we are, where we may be heading, and what policies might help reverse that course, Milanovic’s compelling explanation is the ideal place to start.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Branko Milanovic focuses his thesis on the evolution of global inequality, especially during the past twenty-five years, within the framework of Kuznets waves. Simon Kuznets was thinking that inequality would decline and stay at that lower level after income became sufficiently high. The Kuznets wave has been going up again in the advanced economies since around 1980. Some emerging economies like China are at the peak of the original Kuznets wave. Therefore, Mr. Milanovic states that it is more appropriate to speak of Kuznets waves or cycles.
The first Kuznets wave refers to the transfer from agriculture and rural areas to manufacturing and urban areas. The second Kuznets wave refers to the transfer from manufacturing to services. Technological innovation, the substitution of labor by capital, and the transfer of labor from one sector to another drive each Kuznets wave.
Mr. Milanovic clearly reviews the benign and malign forces that drive Kuznets waves...
The topic of global inequality is a topic of great importance and of growing concern. The political repercussions of growing domestic inequality is leading to a great deal of turmoil almost irrespective of geography. Much of economics as a discipline these days spends little time on inequality as most de facto models use representative agents for their calculations (despite the history of economics having the study of inequality often at its core). Global Inequality takes a new approach of aggregating large data sets on national distributions of wealth over time and looks at global and domestic inequality over the last several hundred years. In particular the recombination of domestic inequality to global is a new approach.
Inequality over time has become very topical recently and with "Capital in the 21st century" and other recent research out, the history of inequality in much of western Europe as well as the US has better data to analyze. Some of the major...
A wonderful mix of thorough research and compelling speculation.
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