In This Review

Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization
Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization
By Branko Milanovic
320 pp, Harvard University Press, 2016

Milanovic, a former World Bank official and an authority on global inequality, attributes the recent rise of inequality within the United States and other countries to technological advancement and globalization, two trends that he argues are impossible to disentangle. But those trends have also produced a sharp decline in overall global inequality since 1980, by permitting rapid growth in poor countries, most notably China, which has helped narrow the gap between the world’s haves and its have-nots. Milanovic expects that process to continue, unless China, India, and other populous Asian countries seriously falter. He believes that growing inequality within countries will not threaten capitalism as a system for allocating economic resources but will pose a serious threat to liberal democracy. As middle classes everywhere get squeezed, the United States will become even more plutocratic, and nativistic populism will become more mainstream in Europe—a process that is already under way, aided in no small part by the influx of migrants, a feature of globalization that is likely to only intensify.