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The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequalityby Branko Milanovic
Synopses & Reviews
Who is the richest person in the world, ever? Does where you were born affect how much money you’ll earn over a lifetime? How would we know? Why—beyond the idle curiosity—do these questions even matter? In The Haves and the Have-Nots, Branko Milanovic, one of the world’s leading experts on wealth, poverty, and the gap that separates them, explains these and other mysteries of how wealth is unevenly spread throughout our world, now and through time.
Milanovic uses history, literature and stories straight out of today’s newspapers, to discuss one of the major divisions in our social lives: between the haves and the have-nots. He reveals just how rich Elizabeth Bennet’s suitor Mr. Darcy really was; how much Anna Karenina gained by falling in love; how wealthy ancient Romans compare to today’s super-rich; where in Kenyan income distribution was Obama’s grandfather; how we should think about Marxism in a modern world; and how location where one is born determines his wealth. He goes beyond mere entertainment to explain why inequality matters, how it damages our economics prospects, and how it can threaten the foundations of the social order that we take for granted.
Book News Annotation:
Writing for a general audience, Milanovic (World Bank and U. of Maryland) offers his "idiosyncratic" take on economic inequality by combining three short essays reviewing the basic issues of economic inequality within nations, between nations, and across the full global stage with shorter (but collectively more extensive) "vignettes" in which he explores the issues further by, for example, considering the economic consequences of romantic choices facing characters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, comparing the relative wealth of Roman imperial senators versus Bill Gates, or discussing economic determinants of athletic success in the world of club-level soccer; although many vignettes are significantly less whimsical in premise, such as those that address the indifference of political philosopher John Rawls to the issue of global inequality or the possible dangers of regional inequalities to Chinese political unity. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
One of the worlds leading experts on global income distribution walks us through the quirks of wealth through the ages
Inequality is a surprisingly slippery issue. It involves not just straightforward comparisons of individuals, but also comparisons of price and consumption differences around the world—and over time. In The Haves and the Have-Nots, Branko Milanovic, the lead economist at the World Banks research division, approaches the issue in a new and innovative way: through stories. Milanovic reveals just how rich Elizabeth Bennets suitor Mr. Darcy really was; how wealthy ancient Romans compare to todays super-rich (for example, Nero vs. Paris Hilton); who the richest people are today; how we should think about Marxism in a modern world; and how location factors into wealth. This bold and entertaining book teaches us not only how to think about inequality, but also why it matters and—most importantly—what we can do about it.
About the Author
Branko Milanovic, lead economist at the World Banks research division in Washington, DC, and professor at University of Maryland, is author of Worlds Apart.
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Business » History and Biographies