Varieties of Inequality

Clothes are seen hanging outside a bus which has been converted into a dwelling for Lu Changshan and his wife near newly-constructed residential buildings in Hefei, Anhui province in China on November 12, 2012 (Jianan Lu/Courtesy Reuters).

I can think of at least six kinds of inequality: Inequality of income: different people receive different wages, either for different jobs or for the same job, as profits from capital investments, or as government subsidies, transfer payments, or private charity. Inequality of consumption: different people consume different products (i.e. the generic widget) in differing… Continue reading Varieties of Inequality

Today’s Reading

The Quiet Coup: In my view, the U.S. faces two plausible scenarios. The first involves complicated bank-by-bank deals and a continual drumbeat of (repeated) bailouts, like the ones we saw in February with Citigroup and AIG. The administration will try to muddle through, and confusion will reign. Boris Fyodorov, the late finance minister of Russia,… Continue reading Today’s Reading

The slave trade and global inequality

There’s a great piece in the Boston Globe on the relationship between the African slave trade and current global inequalities: Shackled to the Past. One thing that’s always irritated me about broadly materialist historical explanations is the tendency to miss the importance of contingent historical events. Geography is not destiny, as Jared Diamond suggests, but… Continue reading The slave trade and global inequality