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Political Origins of Inequality : Why a More Equal World Is Better for Us All (Hardcover) (Simon
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Inequality is the defining issue of our time. But it is not just a problem of the rich world. Inequality between rich and poor countries, and rich and poor people the world over, is much greater than within countries like America and Britain. It is the global 1% that now owns fully half the world’s wealth—the true measure of our age of inequality. Addressing that demands that we look outside economics and beyond our national borders.In The Political Origins of Inequality, Simon Reid-Henry takes a global perspective to explain how the crisis of welfare state capitalism in the rich world is linked to the wider ongoing condition of global poverty. Rich and poor the world over, he argues, engage in a wider political economy that has been structured over time in such a way as to reproduce a range of institutionalized forms of unfairness that are progressively distorting economies and democratic politics in countries around the world. This limits the ability of the poor to do what they are always counseled to do, to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. But it also undermines the position of the rich among us, creating a world where we are told to value security over freedom and special treatment over universal opportunity.Inequality, Reid-Henry argues, is a function of the political choices we make, and, drawing on the historical experience of different countries, he shows how it is within our power to address it. At a moment when the future of international development is being set, we need to understand more than ever both why tackling global inequality is necessary and why it is the only way to meet a great many other challenges confronting humanity today, from climate change and food insecurity to economic instability and migration. The problem is not that the world is falling apart. To the contrary, worlds we once thought were separate are colliding. It is our capacity to act in concert that is falling apart. As Reid-Henry shows, it is this that needs restoring most of all.