Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Branko Milanovic — What is happening with global inequality?

Mixed bag. The glass is half–full or half–empty, which matters based on which half one is in.
With domestic inequalities and “populism” taking center stage, the changes in global income inequality have understandably moved out of the focus. My access to the data—many of them still best obtained from the World Bank especially for poorer countries not covered by LIS—has also diminished since I left the World Bank. But one can still put together a quick update (thanks also to the contribution by Christoph Lakner) that covers the period up to 2013.…
We thus have only apparently paradoxical developments over the past 25 years: on the one hand, strongly rising global median income and the shrinkage of global inequality when measured by the synthetic indicators like the Gini or Theil; but, on the other hand, the rising share of the global top 1% and increasing number of people in relative poverty (mostly in Africa). The last point opens up again the vexed question of lack of convergence of Africa and its growing falling behind Asia (and of course the rest of the world).
So, is the world becoming better, as Bill Gates wants us to believe? Yes, in many ways, it is: the mean income in 2013 is almost 40% higher than in 1988, and global inequality is less. But is there a bad news too? Yes: the same share of the world population is being left behind and the top 1% are getting ever further away and richer than everybody else. So, we have, at the same time, the growth of the global “median” class and an increase in world-wide polarization.
Global Inequality
What is happening with global inequality?
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Konrad said...

The top economic problem in the world is global inequality. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar, a fool, or both.

I believe that social tensions caused by inequality will eventually lead the oligarchs to launch another world war. If the war becomes nuclear, we are all done.

If the Israelis feel threatened, they will nuke the USA, and blame it on Iran. Most Americans will stupidly take the bait, since any questioning of Israeli evil is "anti-Semitic."

Matt Franko said...

An Art Degree is not equal to a Science Degree.... both not equal to no degree, etc...

The financial results of this are a derivative....

Konrad said...


I wrote above, "Anyone who says otherwise is a liar, a fool, or both."

Or worse: Franko