Niall Ferguson: How the Rising Bottom Billion Could Explode Inequality at Home
Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is also a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His Latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, has just been published by Penguin Press.
Everyone’s talking about inequality these days. President Obama made it a central theme of his State of the Union address: “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share.”...
Thirty years ago the average American was around 43 times richer than the average Chinese. Today that figure is down to six. When a fifth of humanity achieves economic liftoff, the income gap between the West and the Rest is bound to shrink.
China’s economic miracle has been based on exporting cheap manufactured goods to the rest of the world. So the flip side has been the loss of jobs and pricing power among unskilled workers in the West. Globalization is not the sole explanation for the fact that middle-range and lower incomes in America have essentially stagnated since 1980. But it’s a pretty big part of the explanation....
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