It is now very much old news that economic inequality has risen dramatically in the United States and many other developed democracies over the past 30 years. This dramatic increase has produced a flurry of discussion over how severe the increase has been, how much of a problem inequality really is and what can and should be done about it.
While inequality is resurgent as an issue in U.S. politics, it has a much longer and more prominent history in middle- and low-income countries. This is likely due to the fact that inequality in developing countries has historically been much higher than in the developed world. The highest levels of inequality in the world, for example, are in Latin America and Africa. And in these contexts, economic inequality takes on additional importance because it is coupled with low average incomes and in many places extreme poverty. It’s harder to argue that income inequality is not an important problem where inequality exists alongside abject poverty. ...
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