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Books in brief

Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalisation

by Branko Milanovic (Harvard University Press, £22.95)

Branko Milanovic’s new book is a welcome companion to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It covers similar ground but is less polemical.

Milanovic, a Serbian-American economist, thinks that inequality between countries has been reduced. Since wars destroy assets, the 20th century saw income and wealth shared more equally for most of its duration, as the world rebuilt capital and regained skills. Then came the opening up of China, the re-integration of much of the former Soviet Union, the elimination of capital controls so money could move around more freely and the reduction in tariffs that has facilitated world trade. All this has led to a reduction in poverty and an expansion of the global middle class.

Still, there is much further to go. Economic growth will help reduce the gap. But dealing with inequality within nations is more difficult because of globalisation. Over the last few decades in rich nations, middle and lower-middle-class incomes have stagnated, while a “global plutocracy” of mobile individuals command an increasing share of income and capital. Milanovic advocates “global citizenship” to allow individuals to be tracked more easily.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s May issue: Simon Taylor and Bronwen Maddox on why Hinkley Point C is an expensive gamble that might not pay off. Philip Collins examines Iain Duncan Smith’s tenure as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Lionel Shriver reveals why she stopped fighting being female. Alan Rusbridger responds to last month’s piece on the Guardian by Stephen Glover. Also in this issue: Nicholas Soames says there’s no such thing as "Project Fear” and Howard Davies reviews Melvyn King’s new book and suggests that we are vulnerable to another financial crisis. Plus Ruth Dudley Edwards examines the fading myths of the Easter Rising and Owen Hatherley suggests it’s time to look for a Plan B to solve London’s housing issues.