Branko Milanovic

milanovic_color_large1To be clear I want to give one example. Consider the movement of the “99% vs 1%”. If we ask where, in the global income distribution, are many of these “99%” who demonstrate in rich countries, we find that they are in the upper portion of the global income distribution – they are richer than 4/5th of the people living in the world. Now, it is not an argument why they should not demonstrate, but this empirical fact immediately opens up the next question, the one addressed by political philosophers.
Suppose, not wholly unrealistically, that globalization works in such a way as to increase incomes of some of these “other” 4/5th of mankind, those living in China, India, Africa, and reduces incomes of those who demonstrate in the streets of the rich countries. What should be our answer to that? Should we look at what is better for the world, and say to these “99%”: you guys are already rich by world standards, let now some others, who are ready to do the same job for a fraction of the money you want, get it, and improve their own lot a bit, acquire hot water, or give safe birth for example, things that you already have and take for granted. Or should we on the contrary say that unless we first organize well the distribution in each individual country, that is, redistribute from the top 1% to the other 99%, nothing worthwhile globally can be done? A global optimum should then be reached when each individual country takes best care of itself first.

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1 Response to Branko Milanovic

  1. shinichi says:

    The Gini out of the bottle. An interview with Branko Milanovic

    Branko Milanovic

    Niels Planel

    Abstract: Branko Milanovic is one of the leading world specialists on inequality. An economist at the World Bank, he’s been dealing with issues related to income distribution for decades. In a book published this year, The Haves and the Have-Nots, he manages to make complex ideas about inequalities within individuals, nations and globally accessible to a wide audience. In it, his essays on these topics are illustrated by audacious and very original « vignettes » in which he answers fascinating and diverse questions such as : Were affluent Romans comparatively richer than today’s super riches ? Does the place where you are born influence the revenue you will generate over a lifetime ? What did Anna Karenina get for falling in love ? Will China survive by the mid-century ? Who has the richest person in the world been ? Feeding his reflections with the findings of Vilfredo Pareto, Karl Marx, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Rawls or Simon Kuznets at a time when the issue of inequality has become so important, his book enlightens us on a topic that is both ancient and captivating. Branko Milanovic has answered Sens Public’s questions.

    Résumé : Branko Milanovic compte sans doute parmi les spécialistes des inégalités les plus importants sur la scène internationale. Économiste à la Banque mondiale, il se penche sur les questions des disparités depuis plusieurs décennies. Dans son livre paru cette année, The Haves and the Have-Nots (Les nantis et les indigents), il réussit le tour de force de rendre accessibles au plus grand nombre des idées complexes sur les inégalités entre les individus, entre les pays, et entre les citoyens du monde dans un style attrayant. Pour ce faire, l’auteur illustre ses propos au travers de petites histoires (des « vignettes ») audacieuses et d’une incroyable originalité, dans lesquelles il répond à des questions fascinantes : les Romains prospères étaient-ils comparativement plus riches que les super riches d’aujourd’hui ? Dans quel arrondissement de Paris valait-il mieux vivre au 13e siècle, et qu’en est-il aujourd’hui ? Sur l’échelle de la redistribution du revenu au Kenya, où se situait le grand-père de Barack Obama ? Est-ce que le lieu de naissance influence le salaire que vous aurez au long d’une vie, et si oui, comment ? Qu’a gagné Anna Karénine à tomber amoureuse ? La Chine survivra-t-elle au mitan du siècle ? Qui a été la personne la plus riche au monde ? Reprenant également les travaux de Vilfredo Pareto, Karl Marx, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Rawls ou Simon Kuznets à une époque où la question des inégalités préoccupe de plus en plus, son ouvrage fait le pari d’éclairer un enjeu aussi ancien que passionnant. Branko Milanovic a accepté de répondre aux questions de Sens Public.

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