Monday, October 14, 2013

Inequality is a Choice

This piece by Nobel economic laureate Joseph Stiglitz is a must read. The solutions to this are not simply economic, but also political. Here's where schools, curriculum, tracking, underfunding, etc. come in, too, though not spelled out herein.

Thanks to Kenneth Bernstein for sharing. Here are Kenneth's views on the matter, too:


Inequality Is a Choice

It’s well known by now that income and wealth inequality in most rich countries, especially the United States, have soared in recent decades and, tragically, worsened even more since the Great Recession. But what about the rest of the world? Is the gap between countries narrowing, as rising economic powers like China and India have lifted hundreds of millions of people from poverty? And within poor and middle-income countries, is inequality getting worse or better? Are we moving toward a more fair world, or a more unjust one?
These are complex questions, and new research by a World Bank economist named Branko Milanovic, along with other scholars, points the way to some answers.
Starting in the 18th century, the industrial revolution produced giant wealth for Europe and North America. Of course, inequality within these countries was appalling — think of the textile mills of Liverpool and Manchester, England, in the 1820s, and the tenements of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the South Side of Chicago in the 1890s — but the gap between the rich and the rest, as a global phenomenon, widened even more, right up through about World War II. To this day, inequality between countries is far greater than inequality within countries.

Continue reading here.

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