Matt Phillips in Quartz:
Branko Milanovic looks at the big picture.
During his dozen years as chief economist of the World Bank’s Research Department, he focused on making sense of the all-important economic question that many economists, paradoxically, seem uninterested in: How are people doing?
It’s a deceptively difficult question. To answer it you must determine what you mean by “people.” The average person? The median household? The poorest of the poor? The 1%?
Much also depends on the economic state of various countries and how living costs can be compared across nations. Determining how any one group of people is doing depends on how they rank among neighbors and rivals.
Set to be published next month (April 2016) Milanovic’s new book, Global Inequality, goes well beyond the narrative of rising inequality captured by French economist Thomas Piketty’s surprise 2014 best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-first Century. In his highly readable account, Milanovic puts that development into the context of the centuries-long ebbs and flows of inequality driven by economic changes, such as the Industrial Revolution, as well epidemics, mass migrations, revolutions, wars and other political upheavals.