AirTalk for January 3, 2011

Global inequality past & present

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Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Desperate flood victims scramble during a food distribution by a local Muslim organization offering rice for the hungry survivors over two weeks after the floods started.

There has never been a society without inequality and yet it’s perennially controversial to reference iniquity between rich and poor nations. But in the contentious debate over extending the Bush era tax cuts, the vitriol was evident and words like socialist and income redistribution were used to denigrate proposals for a more progressive tax system. Yet when the top 1.75% of the world’s wage earners make more than the bottom 77%, income distribution is a serious issue. Why is wealth so unevenly distributed throughout the world and why does it matter?

Guest:

Branko Milanovic, author of The Haves and Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality


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