This delightful and quirky book explains in layman's terms the evolution of income inequality over the years, within countries and between countries. Twenty-six vignettes tackle diverse questions: Where does the reader fit into the global distribution of income? How unequal was income in the Roman Empire? Who was the world's richest person in history? How egalitarian was socialism in practice? Is there an emerging global middle class? How does the search for love and wealth in Pride and Prejudice differ from that in Anna Karenina? A growing volume of data on income distribution within countries and new data on purchasing power comparisons between countries have permitted the author, an economist at the World Bank, to make quantitative generalizations that could once only be guessed at. It is a pity he did not include (in an appendix) some of the data he draws on so skillfully.
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