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The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequalityby Angus Deaton
Synopses & Reviews
"There is nobody better than Angus Deaton to explain why our lives are longer, healthier, and more prosperous than those of our great-grandparents. The story he tells is much more than an inexorable march of progress--it has also been unequal, uneven, and incomplete, and at each step, politics has played a defining role. This is a must-read for anybody interested in the wealth and health of nations."--Daron Acemoglu, coauthor of Why Nations Fail
"At once engaging and compassionate, this is an uplifting story by a major scholar."--Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion
"Magisterial and superb."--William Easterly, author of The White Man's Burden
"The Great Escape tells the two biggest stories in history: how humanity got healthy and wealthy, and why some people got so much healthier and wealthier than others. Angus Deaton, one of the world's leading development economists, takes us on an extraordinary journey--from an age when almost everyone was poor and sick to one where most people have escaped these evils--and he tells us how the billion still trapped in extreme poverty can join in this great escape. Everyone who wants to understand the twenty-first century should read this book."--Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules--for Now
"Deaton's account of global advances in health is magisterial. It is especially convincing in disentangling economic progress from technological growth as sources of health improvements. A very big story, this book should affect the way we think about human development and the role of science and science-based government programs. The language is modest and graceful, the use of evidence compelling, and the illustrations highly attractive."--Samuel Preston, University of Pennsylvania
"This factual, sober, and very timely book deals with issues surrounding the higher incomes and longer lives enjoyed by an increasing proportion of the world's population. It assesses improvements in conditions that would have seemed almost a fantasy for people living only a few generations ago. Deaton's arguments, written in an elegant and accessible style, are powerful and challenge conventional opinions."--Branko Milanovic, author of The Haves and the Have-Nots
"This splendid book discusses how, in the last two hundred fifty years, large numbers of people have achieved levels of well-being that were previously available only to a few individuals, and how this achievement has given rise to equally unprecedented inequalities. Unique in its focus and scope, exceptional knowledge and coherence, and careful argumentation, The Great Escape is highly illuminating and a delight to read."--Thomas Pogge, Yale University
Everyone knows the super rich are hiding tons of money and not paying near enough taxes. This common knowledge that the wealthy have found ways around taxation by moving their assets to countries that donandrsquo;t tax them raises the question of how much of the worldandrsquo;s wealth is hidden and how. Gabriel Zucman, a prominent young French economist, has come up with novel yet effective ways of quantifying how big the problem is, how tax havens work and are organized, and how we can begin to tackle the problem. Digging deep into the global data and comparing it with that of individual and international institutions, The Hidden Wealth of Nations offers for the first time a full picture of how this sophisticated international system works and is organized in practice. It is an invaluable glimpse at one of the most powerful forces contributing to inequality across the globe.
We are well aware of the rise of the 1% as the rapid growth of economic inequality has put the majority of the worldandrsquo;s wealth in the pockets of fewer and fewer. One much-discussed solution to this imbalance is to significantly increase the rate at which we tax the wealthy. But with an enormous amount of the worldandrsquo;s wealth hidden in tax havensandmdash;in countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islandsandmdash;this wealth cannot be fully accounted for and taxed fairly. No one, from economists to bankers to politicians, has been able to quantify exactly how much of the worldandrsquo;s assets are currently hiddenandmdash;until now. Gabriel Zucman is the first economist to offer reliable insight into the actual extent of the worldandrsquo;s money held in tax havens. And itandrsquo;s staggering.
In The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Zucman offers an inventive and sophisticated approach to quantifying how big the problem is, how tax havens work and are organized, and how we can begin to approach a solution. His research reveals that tax havens are a quickly growing danger to the world economy. In the past five years, the amount of wealth in tax havens has increased over 25%andmdash;there has never been as much money held offshore as there is today. This hidden wealth accounts for at least $7.6 trillion, equivalent to 8% of the global financial assets of households. Fighting the notion that any attempts to vanquish tax havens are futile, since some countries will always offer more advantageous tax rates than others, as well the counter-argument that since the financial crisis tax havens have disappeared, Zucman shows how both sides are actually very wrong. In The Hidden Wealth of Nations he offers an ambitious agenda for reform, focused on ways in which countries can change the incentives of tax havens. Only by first understanding the enormity of the secret wealth can we begin to estimate the kind of actions that would force tax havens to give up their practices.
Zucmanandrsquo;s work has quickly become the gold standard for quantifying the amount of the worldandrsquo;s assets held in havens. In this concise book, he lays out in approachable language how the international banking system works and the dangerous extent to which the large-scale evasion of taxes is undermining the global market as a whole. If we are to find a way to solve the problem of increasing inequality, The Hidden Wealth of Nations is essential reading.
The world is a better place than it used to be. People are healthier, wealthier, and live longer. Yet the escapes from destitution by so many has left gaping inequalities between people and nations. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton--one of the foremost experts on economic development and on poverty--tells the remarkable story of how, beginning 250 years ago, some parts of the world experienced sustained progress, opening up gaps and setting the stage for today's disproportionately unequal world. Deaton takes an in-depth look at the historical and ongoing patterns behind the health and wealth of nations, and addresses what needs to be done to help those left behind.
Deaton describes vast innovations and wrenching setbacks: the successes of antibiotics, pest control, vaccinations, and clean water on the one hand, and disastrous famines and the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the other. He examines the United States, a nation that has prospered but is today experiencing slower growth and increasing inequality. He also considers how economic growth in India and China has improved the lives of more than a billion people. Deaton argues that international aid has been ineffective and even harmful. He suggests alternative efforts--including reforming incentives to drug companies and lifting trade restrictions--that will allow the developing world to bring about its own Great Escape.
Demonstrating how changes in health and living standards have transformed our lives, The Great Escape is a powerful guide to addressing the well-being of all nations.
About the Author
Angus Deaton is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. His many books include The Analysis of Household Surveys and Economics and Consumer Behavior. He is a past president of the American Economic Association.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What This Book Is About 1
1 The Wellbeing of the World 23
PART I LIFE AND DEATH
2 From Prehistory to 1945 59
3 Escaping Death in the Tropics 101
4 Health in the Modern World 126
PART II MONEY
5 Material Wellbeing in the United States 167
6 Globalization and the Greatest Escape 218
PART III HELP
7 How to Help Those Left Behind 267
Postscript: What Comes Next? 325
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