Income inequality has been on the rise in the United States since the late 1970s— a trend that is also surfacing in many other countries around the world. Even among those who view inequality neutrally— or even positively— for economic growth, most agree that some of the features that accompany it, such as reduced opportunity and low social mobility, increased prevalence of poverty, and stagnation of the middle class, are undesirable.
On November 27, the Brookings Institution in cooperation with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Oxfam America hosted a discussion on the implications of rising U.S. and global inequality. The discussion will examine the facts and trends underlying increasing inequality, and explore what kinds of policies are desirable for addressing inequality. Panelists included: Uri Dadush of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, co-author of Inequality in America: Facts, Trends, and International Perspectives (Brookings Press, 2012); Chrystia Freeland of Thomson Reuters, author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (Penguin Press, 2012); Branko Milanovic, author of The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality (Basic Books, 2010); and Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. Vice President Kemal Derviş, director of Global Economy and Development at Brookings and a co-author of Inequality in America, moderated the discussion. The panelists discussed findings and observations from their respective books on inequality as well as those of other recent books on the topic by Joseph Stiglitz and Francois Bourguignon.