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A Mundane Comedy is Dom Kelleher's new book, which will be published in late 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media later in 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

Halcyon In Kaleidoscope features irregular and fragmentary writings - on ideas and values, places and people - which evolve over time into mini essais, paying humble homage to the peerless founder of the genre. The kaleidoscope is Halcyon's prime metaphor, viewing the world through ever-moving lenses.

What's Changing? - Equality



Please see below selected recent equality-related change.


See also:


In figures:


June 2024

  • The International Monetary Fund believes generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) could lead to massive labour disruptions and rising inequality. In a report, the UN financial agency said it had "profound concerns" about the impact of GenAI models capable of generating content such as text, images, video and code on societies. It urged governments to do more to protect economies and bolster unemployment insurance, noting that genAI could lead to job losses in higher-skilled occupations.


April 2024

  • As the COVID pandemic progressed, its effects on global inequality intensified. Richer countries enjoyed better access to vaccines than poorer ones, and were more able to sustain spending on programmes to support incomes and bolster recoveries. The net effect of the pandemic was to raise inequality between countries, back to the levels of the early 2010s on some measures.


March 2024

  • The head of the International Monetary Fund stressed that tackling inequality is crucial for achieving strong economic growth over the next 100 years. In a speech at King's College, Cambridge, Kristina Georgieva said: "We have an obligation to correct what has been most seriously wrong over the last 100 years - the persistence of high economic inequality". She added that while there has been a significant rise in living standards over the last century, the benefits have not been shared among everyone equally. The IMF proposed two possible paths for the next century: a "low ambition" scenario with modest improvements in the standard of living and a "high ambition" scenario focused on building a more sustainable and fair global economy, which could lead to 13 times higher living standards.
  • Evidence gathered by social epidemiologists suggests that large differences in income are a powerful social stressor that is increasingly rendering societies dysfunctional. For example, bigger gaps between rich and poor are accompanied by higher rates of homicide and imprisonment. They can also correspond to more infant mortality, obesity, drug abuse and COVID-19 deaths, as well as higher rates of teenage pregnancy and lower levels of child well-being, social mobility and public trust. The homicide rate in the US - the most unequal Western democracy - is more than 11 times that in Norway, imprisonment rates are 10 times as high, and infant mortality and obesity rates twice as high.


January 2024

  • In its 2024 report on global inequalities, Oxfam contrasted the growing wealth of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, whose fortunes have more than doubled since 2020, with the 5 billion people who have become worse off during the same timeframe.
  • Chief executives at the UK's biggest companies made more money in the first four days of 2024 than the average worker will make all year, according to the High Pay Centre. The organisation's research claims that FTSE 100 bosses make an average of £3.81m per year – or £1,170 per hour, 109 times that of a typical full-time worker. The High Pay Centre used FTSE companies' annual reports to make its calculations. While the Trades Union Congress said the figures showed "obscene levels of pay inequality", a member of the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank said lowering bosses' pay would "undermine competitiveness".
  • Professor Ingrid Robeyns of the University of Utrecht, and a champion of "limitarianism", not only argues for a limit to wealth, she puts numbers on it: 1. “In a country with a socioeconomic profile similar to the Netherlands, we should aim to create a society in which no one has more than €10m. There shouldn’t be any decamillionaires.” and 2. an appeal to collective morality: “I contend,” Robeyns argues, “that for people who live in a society with a solid pension system, the ethical limit [on wealth] will be around 1 million pounds, dollars or euros per person.” 


December 2023


November 2023

  • The richest 1% of the world's population is responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66%, an analysis by Oxfam and the Guardian found. Around 77 million people, including billionaires, millionaires and people earning more than €128,000 (£112,080) contributed 16% of all CO2 emissions in 2019. This is enough to cause more than one million excess deaths due to extreme heat, the Guardian reported. The emissions come from a range of sources, including home air-conditioning and financial investments.
  • The UK spends more than anywhere else in Europe subsidising the cost of structural inequality in favour of the rich, according to an analysis of 23 OECD countries. Inequalities of income, wealth and power cost the UK £106.2bn a year compared with the average developed country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to the Equality Trust’s cost of inequality report.
  • Roughly 40% of wage inequality from 1980-2019 was reversed after 2020 in the US.


October 2023

  • The top 1% of American households, in terms of annual income, held about 26.5% of the nation’s wealth in 2022, up about 1.5 percentage points from 2019. The share owned by the bottom 40% of households, meanwhile, fell from 7% to 6.7%


September 2023


April 2023

  • Wellcome called for “equality of data” as the world sought to better understand the impacts of climate change on human health. The charitable foundation highlighted the problem: most research on climate and health has focused on high-income countries, and there are large data gaps when it comes to impacts on low- and middle-income countries – precisely the regions where the effects of climate change are felt most.
  • As of 2023, many parts of the world were still unsafe for the LGBTQ community, with same-sex acts deemed illegal in 65 countries and the death penalty even a possibility in 11 countries worldwide, although Africa and Asia are the two continents with the highest number of countries still criminalising same-sex acts.


February 2023

  • Data on US childbirths showed that, even when correcting for income, Black mothers and their babies fare worse than white ones. The infant mortality rate for rich Black mothers is 87 points higher than that for poor White mothers, according to a decade-long study conducted in California.


January 2023

  • The richest 1% obtained nearly two-thirds of all new wealth, worth US$42 trillion created since 2020, almost twice as much money as the bottom 99% of the world’s population, revealed an new Oxfam report, Survival of the Richest. During the previous decade, the richest 1% had captured around half of all new wealth. “While ordinary people are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams. Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires  - a roaring ‘20s boom for the world’s richest,” said Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International.


November 2022


October 2022


September 2022


August 2022

  • Access to free menstrual products became a legal right in Scotland. The law was considered to be the first of its kind in the world.
  • The FT asked whether automatically amplifying the voices of those deemed “oppressed” is a good idea, even if someone sees themself that way, Glenn Loury, an African-American economist at Brown University and a prominent public intellectual, doesn’t think so, criticising of “the soft bigotry of low expectations”, particularly in education, and arguing that changing admission standards in order to improve racial diversity is not only counter-productive, but also “reeks of racism”. Loury distinguishes between what he calls “titular equality”, which he says is simply “a formal kind of bean-counting equality”, and “substantive equality”, an “equality of respect, an equality of standing and dignity”


May 2022


April 2022


February 2022

  • Social inequality is a major challenge. Global wealth is highly concentrated while hundreds of millions live in extreme poverty (defined as living on less than US$1.90 per day). UN SDG number 1 aims to ‘end poverty in all its forms everywhere’ by 2030. But how will achieving this goal impact our ability to limit global warming to 1.5C in line with the Paris Agreement? Research published in Nature Sustainability claimed that eradicating extreme poverty would increase global carbon emissions by less than 1%. However, the research also found that the average carbon footprint of the top 1% of emitters was more than seventy-five times higher than that of the bottom 50%. 
  • In 2020 FTSE CEOs earned 86 times the average workers' full-time wage. That is 105 times the average salary of a primary school teacher, 157 times the average care worker's salary and 80 times the average salary of an NHS Nurse. The past 40 years have seen CEO pay expand while workers’ pay has stagnated; this increase in income for company executives is a large contributor to rising income inequality in the UK.  To gauge the public's opinion on issues of high pay for FTSE-100 CEOs in Britain, the Equality Trust commissioned polling from Opinium. Results from the survey revealed huge public support for government action to dampen executive pay and distribute pay more evenly within companies


January 2022

  • The World Bank and World Economic Forum warned about growing inequality. The two organisations issued separate reports about the stagnating global economy and the pessimistic outlook as a result of the pandemic.
  • The pandemic made the world's wealthiest far richer but led to more people living in poverty, according to Oxfam. Lower incomes for the world's poorest contributed to the death of 21,000 people each day, its report claimed, but the world's 10 richest men more than doubled their collective fortunes in the first two years of the pandemic. Meanwhile 99% of the world's population were worse off because of lockdowns, lower international trade, less international tourism, and as a result of that, 160 million more people had been pushed into poverty.
  • For Anne Philiips, writing in Prospect, equality is not about “nature”; it is not conditional on us exhibiting particular human properties; and it is not something we should feel obliged to justify by reference to any such characteristic. Equality is the claim we make on others when they fail to recognise us as their equals, and the commitment we make to ourselves and others to regard one another as equals. It is not something we “discover” about people, but something we bring into existence. It is not a matter of finding out that others are sufficiently like us to be regarded as our equals. Equality is something we do and on contemporary evidence something we don’t yet do very well


December 2021

  • By late 2021, the World Bank estimated that 97 million people around the world had been pushed into extreme poverty by Covid-19, being forced to live on less than $1.90 a day. Disruptions to national budgets, supply chains, education and work derailed the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Rather than cause it, the pandemic exacerbated the problem and revealed the extent of inequality and discrimination. For Oxford professor Ian Goldin, inequality is not an abstract concept. It needs to be tackled if we are to release the potential of our societies and ensure that we build a more cohesive and sustainable world.


October 2021

  • The pandemic exposed and exacerbated inequality both within and between countries. Provision of public services that benefit low-income groups such as education and health was severely disrupted, and job losses concentrated among low-income groups in areas such as entertainment, travel and tourism. The poor were also less able to protect themselves from the virus and its health complications, and inequality could rise further due to scarring on labour markets and large educational losses. The IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department documented these effects and made far-reaching proposals as to how governments should respond through spending to improve access to more efficient public services paid for by enhancing tax capacity and/or increasing progressivity of the tax system.


September 2021

  • Only 12 FTSE 100 companies could claim in 2021 to take social class seriously in equality and hiring, according to research showing top employers were doing little to give equal opportunities to those from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The analysis, by the University of Exeter, found nearly half of the UK’s largest companies made no mention of socio-economic background in their diversity strategies or annual reports.


July 2021

  • The financial crisis of 2007-09 was socially divisive as well as economically destructive. It inspired a resentful backlash, but that crisis at least spread financial pain across the rich as well as the poor. The share of global wealth held by the top “one percent” actually fell in 2008. The pandemic has been different. Amid all the misery and mortality, the number of millionaires rose in 2020 by 5.2m to over 56m, according to the Global Wealth Report published by Credit Suisse, a bank. The one percent increased their share of wealth to 45%, a percentage point higher than in 2019, noted The Economist.
  • The IMF warned of a widening gap between poor and rich countries. The organisation forecast 6% global growth in its latest World Economic Outlook report while warning of a sluggish recovery in emerging economies.


June 2021


May 2021


March 2021

  • The Futures Centre warned that COVID-19 both exposed and exacerbated cruel social divides. Across the world, not only have poor people suffered the greatest impacts, but they are most at risk from the long-term consequences of the pandemic - through loss of income and education due to the hiatus in many industries and an ongoing recession, and through the ongoing negative physical and mental health impacts of more limited or lost nutrition and living conditions. Leading economists at the Centre for Disaster Protection and the World Bank argue that crises such as this can lead to spiralling cycles of inequality. Those hardest hit recover more slowly due to a greater loss in human capital and assets, and so are more vulnerable to future crises,
  • Forbes claimed that the world’s 10 richest people increased their wealth by a combined half a trillion US dollars in 2020. Jeff Bezos alone got $42 billion richer between March and June 2020.


February 2021


January 2021


December 2020

  • Economic inequality became even more stark in 2020. After decades of the top income earners getting all the wealth gains — about $50 trillion in the U.S. alone — it got worse. During the pandemic, U.S. billionaires gained one trillion in wealth.
  • About 2.7 billion people, a third of the global population, received no government assistance to deal with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by Oxfam. The study reveals huge gaps between rich and poor countries and blames a host of low and middle-income nations for not investing in social safety networks prior to the crisis.


November 2020


October 2020

  • About one in 3.5 million of us is a billionaire; 2,189 in all. That number is rising and so is billionaires’ total wealth - and so is extreme poverty. Inequality is more extreme now than at any time since 1905, concluded UBS.
  • As the scale of health inequalities continued to come to light during the pandemic, The Equality Trust held a webinar on Tackling health inequalities in light of Covid-19, with Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Farzana Khan (Healing Justice London) and Natalie Creary (Black Thrive).


September 2020

  • Although more than half of the world's population is now online, internet access remains quite low throughout the developing world, where connectivity is largely expensive, slow and unreliable. GZEROMedia notes that this means a vegetable trader in Nairobi, for example, may use basic mobile phone payments but cannot expect to sell his produce online because most of his buyers are neither online nor aware of e-commerce. In developing countries, governments lack the funds and private companies the financial incentive to invest in broadband for all. The economic crisis triggered by the pandemic will further discourage betting big on digital infrastructure plans where they are most needed, so the digitised world will speed ahead in the fast lane while 3.2 billion unconnected people may remain stuck.
  • New York Times economic specialist Nelson D. Schwartz explored the “velvet ropes” that businesses - and, increasingly, public institutions - erect to separate haves from have-nots. The have-nots suffer long lines and shabby treatment. The haves get fast lanes of such improved circumstances that they don’t notice or care about the dilapidation of services for everybody else. These socioeconomic fault lines isolate groups of people from one another – based on ability to pay - and fray the social cohesion that binds communities and creates broad support for their institutions.
  • A growing concern emerged among economists that a pandemic-fuelled depression would result in societies that are even more unequal, where the haves still prospered as the have-nots bore the brunt of lost jobs, lower salaries and shuttered businesses.
  • Indeed, the pandemic is going to make inequality worse, warned GZEROMedia. In wealthy countries, the public health and economic burdens of the crisis have fallen disproportionately on poorer or minority communities. The millions of service jobs that will come back slowest — if at all — are held mostly by lower income workers. Where schools remain closed, the impact will be greatest on children from less affluent households that lack high-speed internet access or technology for remote learning. At the same time, on a global scale, poorer countries will suffer a bigger economic blow than richer ones. Developing countries, many of which have thin financial cushions, are suffering a triple-whammy of collapsing exports, lower remittance flows, and evaporating tourism. The IMF is struggling to coordinate adequate relief.


August 2020

  • In the world’s most populated countries, the very highest earners are getting an increasingly bigger piece of the pie. Between 1980 and 2015, the share of pre-tax income going to the top 1% more than doubled in China and India, and grew by 80% in the US. This rise in inequality is largely the result of the highest-educated workers making a lot more money. Automation, computing power, and globalization made knowledge workers more valuable. At the same time, power for the working class dissipated as unions became weaker. If income is to be distributed more equally, it either means broadening access to educational opportunities or pushing laws, like the minimum wage or promoting unions, according to Quartz.
  • Constant exposure to billboards can be annoying, but these ads may also deepen inequality and contribute to a public health crisisBBC Worklife reported that in urban areas “evidence shows that lower-income people are bombarded with more ­and more harmful ads than those in wealthy neighbourhoods.” Advertising is two- to four-times more dense in lower-income neighbourhoods because space is cheaper and there's less regulation. Critics say the glut of ads can cause mental overload and promote overspending and overconsumption. Often ads targeted at these communities hawk foods high in salt, fat and sugar.


June 2020

  • According to a study by the media company Black Enterprise, 187 of the S&P 500 companies - about 37 percent - did not have a single black board member in 2019 (although that figure was a two percentage point "improvement" from the preceding year).
  • Protests around the world are bringing increased attention to the continuing gaps in economic status between white and black, particuarly in the United States. Data show that blacks in the US have 10 times less wealth, are 20% more likely to be unemployed, and make 78% as much in weekly wages as whites. Due to the way that government statistical agencies collect data, these numbers actually underestimate the difference.
  • Prejudice against Indigenous people is still widespread today, warned GZEROMedia, adding that e.g. it's well documented that the policy aimed at creating a uniform white Australia gave rise to deeply entrenched racism against Indigenous peoples in that country. A decade-long joint study recently published by Harvard, Yale and the University of Sydney found that 75 percent of Australians have an "implicit negative bias" against the Indigenous population.
  • Recent reports - one on inequality from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and another on the low paid from the Resolution Foundation - show that society has simply become far too segmented into the secure and the insecure, the safe and the vulnerable.


May 2020

  • In a sequel to his bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century, economist Thomas Piketty expanded his focus on inequality to the prodigious “political-ideological repertoire” that constitutes the economic narratives of major nations. Piketty calls for more circumspection and greater discussion of the wider causes and remedies of inequality.
  • Automation will worsen inequality in wealthy countries. This transition to new forms of work won't come easy. People with skillsets better suited to the digitized workplace will have a much easier time than people expected to develop those skills from scratch. The result could intensify the inequality that has already stoked populism and upended political establishments in so many countries in recent years. Robots pose a special challenge in emerging markets. Hundreds of millions of jobs are at stake in lower-wage countries that have operated for decades as factories for the world's textiles and light manufacturing industries. The International Labour Organisation has warned, for example, that 140 million jobs in Southeast Asia alone are at risk of automation in the next 15 years. That's more than half the region's salaried labour force. And that was before the coronavirus pandemic created new reasons for companies to turn to robots in order to safeguard their production and supply chains against future disruption


April 2020

  • The COVID-19 pandemic will hit poorer countries particularly hard. But the burden of the virus' spread also falls more heavily on working class people even in wealthy countries, particularly in Europe and the United States. This is exacerbating the divide between rich and poor that had already upended the political establishment in countries around the world even before anyone had heard of a novel coronavirus.


February 2020

  • The Government of Finland announced it would grant equal paid parental leave to both partners, whether or not they are giving birth. As of 2021, each parent will be able to take 164 days off, adding up to a combined total of 14 months. A parent can also elect to transfer up to 69 days from their own allowance to their partner. In addition, the pregnant parent will receive a month’s paid leave to use before the start of the paid parental leave. The policy applies for heterosexual, same-sex and single parents and will cost the government about EUR 100 million (USD 108 million).


January 2020

  • Inequality has risen to historic levels, according to the U.N.'s "World Social Report 2020." Major global trends‚ including technological change, the climate crisis, urbanisation, and international migration, "can be harnessed for a more equitable and sustainable world, or they can be left to further divide us," the report says.


November 2019

  • The Economist points out that many of the modern world’s discontents are laid at the door of mounting inequality - but perhaps unfairly. In his bestselling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty, a French economist, argued that under capitalism widening inequality is a normal state of affairs. Yet two other studies, by American government economists, and by the US Congressional Budget Office - produce markedly different results and find barely any change in the income share of the top 1% in America since the 1960s. The Economist believes a long, bitter academic battle looms over (in)equality, a phenomenon that is still only partially understood.
  • Inequality has risen to historic levels, according to the U.N.'s "World Social Report 2020." Major global trends‚ including technological change, the climate crisis, urbanisation, and international migration, "can be harnessed for a more equitable and sustainable world, or they can be left to further divide us," the report says.


October 2019

  • Millionaires account for one percent of the world's population, but they own 44 percent of global wealth. While economic inequality persists in every region of the world, the gap between the world's haves and have-nots has actually narrowed slightly since peaking in 2016.
  • As of 2018, half of the world's population was online with some form of internet connection. Despite progress, this still puts billions of people on the wrong side of the digital divide. Leaving half the world without access to the "electricity of today's age" - internet access, and increasingly at broadband speeds - means that existing inequalities, poverty and insecurity will persist, worsen and become increasingly difficult to address.


September 2019

  • Income inequality has risen sharply since the 1970s in most advanced economies around the world, and has been blamed for increasingly polarised politics. While growth powered ahead in the second half of the 20th century, and resumed more fitfully after the 2008-09 financial crisis, there have been major winners and losers from the wealth generated. Sir Angus Deaton, the Nobel prize-winning economist has noted that: “There is this feeling that contemporary capitalism is not working for everybody."
  • There is widespread concern about increasing or high economic inequality in many countries, both rich and poor. At a global level, according to the World Inequality Report 2018, the richest 1% in the world reaped 27% of the growth in world income between 1980 and 2016, while the bottom 50% of the population got only 12%.
  • While in recent decades huge strides have been made in reducing illiteracy in low-income countries, 30 percent of adults from these regions will still be illiterate by 2030, according to UNESCO

July 2019

  • Inequality is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years it has re-emerged as a social and political flash point in advanced economies and beyond, stoking public dissatisfaction. Perspectives about inequality - what it is, how it is evolving, and how to address it - are polarised. and at times, even the data used to support arguments are contested, warned McKinsey in Inequality: A persisting challenge and its implications.
  • High levels of social inequality, as reflected in differences in access to high-quality health care and education, for example, are a greater drag on a country's well-being than is high income inequality, according to the Boston Consulting Group's report, Measure Well-Being to Improve It, However, social inequality generally gets much less attention than income inequality in debate and discussion among policymakers.
  • Income inequality declined globally between 1988 and 2015, but only if one counts India and China. With those two countries removed from the dataset, income inequality has worsened in the remaining 143 countries measured in the study.


March 2019


February 2019


January 2019


December 2018


November 2018


October 2018


September 2018


July-August 2018

  • A monthly poll of public attitudes in 28 countries found that 56% of respondents felt their countries were on the wrong track, with unemployment and poverty/inequality topping the list of complaints. 
  • Long summer school breaks make inequality worse, warned Quartz. With limited access to books, museums, and educational camps, children from low-income families worldwide fall behind between academic years.
  • One way to measure inequality is to look at how easy it is for those at the bottom of the social ladder to climb their way up - to, as people would say in the US, “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” A new report from the OECD does just that, identifying the number of generations it would take those born into low-income families to approach the average income in their society. 
  • Stock buybacks are ruining economies, warned Quartz, claiming that the transfer of trillions of dollars to shareholders increases inequality and reduces corporate investment.
  • The Chartbook of Economic Equality presents the empirical evidence about long-run changes in economic inequality. The chartbook covers 25 countries – often over the course of more than one hundred years. For each country a chart shows how different dimensions of economic inequality have changed over time. A detailed description of the data sources is given for each country.


July 2018

  • The new World Inequality Report noted that inequality is rising in nearly every part of the globe. Much of this is driven by greater privately-owned capital and the concentration of that ownership.
  • The United Nations released a report on international development, entitled Development for Everyone. It focuses on equality, distinguishing between absolute inequality and relative inequality. It points out that in terms of the Gini coefficient, a statistical measure used to gauge a country’s income inequality, one kind of inequality is rising while the other is falling. Relative global inequality has declined steadily over the past few decades, sespite an increasing trend towards inequality within countries. By contrast, absolute inequality, measured by the absolute Gini coefficient, has increased dramatically, noted HumanProgress.
  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos became the richest person in modern history, with a reported net worth topping $150 billion.


June 2018


May 2018

  • One-fifth of the world’s population are unbanked, noted Quartz. Historically, it hasn’t been economically viable to provide financial services for these individuals, as they didn’t meet the minimum profitable threshold for most financial institutions. However, the introduction of new technologies has the potential to lower the cost of overcoming the hurdles that stop people entering the banking world. Emerging markets are already embracing innovative technology and developing policy to increase financial inclusion, which represents an estimated US$200 billion opportunity.
  • French economist Thomas Piketty estimates that offshore assets held by wealthy Russians exceed one year of Russia GDP. It’s a measure of the extent to which Russia’s natural wealth no longer lives in Russia.
  • Gender inequalities in the labour market start early. Even as babysitters, males are more likely to get a raise than females. And if there was an emotional connection between the female and the child, they were least likely to receive raises.


April 2018

  • A report from the World Bank found that South Africa is the world’s most unequal country. The top 1 percent of South Africans own 70.9 percent of the nation's wealth. The bottom 60 percent of South Africans collectively control just 7 percent.


January 2018


Pre 2018

  • The picture for the economic gap between men and women is bleak and won’t be closed for another 217 years, according to the latest World Economic Forum analysis.
  • A common yardstick for measuring societal equality is the Gini coefficient, which runs from 0 (everyone has the same income) to 1 (one person has all the income).  Most countries range between 0.25 and 0.6.  The Economist shows that the Gini coefficient has gone up a lot in some rich countries since the 1980s.  And as poor countries are on average growing faster than rich ones, inequality in the world as a whole is falling.
  • However, inequality is a complex issue, involving not just straightforward comparisons of individuals, but also comparisons over time.  Branko Milanovic, lead economist at the World Bank's research division, approaches the issue in a new and innovative way, focusing on inequality in income and wealth in different time periods and contexts: from inequality in Roman times (and how it compared with inequality today), to depictions of wealth inequality in literature (Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina), to inequality across generations of a single family (the three generations of Obamas illustrating this theme). As for global inequality today, Milanovic examined, in TheHavesAndHaveNots.mp3 at the LSE in 2011 the main causes (differences in average incomes between countries), the role China and India might play, and, perhaps most importantly, whether global inequality matters at all, and if does, what can we do to reduce it.