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The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality by [Milanovic, Branko]
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The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 274 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Milanovic defies the typical image of an economist by presenting research overlaid with humor, literary insights, and fully imagined portraits of daily life as he examines inequality across time and continents. He weighs the wealth divide between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice as well as Anna Karenina’s financial prospects had she married Vronsky. He ponders John Rawls, Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and others to explore theories regarding the rich and the poor. Using complicated economic models that he explains very well, Milanovic breaks down incomes to make comparisons between the haves and the have-nots within nations, between nations, and among citizens of the world. He offers vignettes that make his concepts all the more accessible and entertaining as he explains the errors of Marxism and why a person’s relative wealth is determined more by their country of origin than by their family’s wealth. Milanovic writes as much like a philosopher as an economist as he ponders the growing trend of inequality in income around the world and answers questions many readers likely ask themselves about their economic prospects. --Vanessa Bush

Review

"if you have the slightest interest in politics and macro-economics, you should be (in possession of the book). When Milanovic gets serious, he becomes indispensable." (Spectator) "Branko Milanovic...had a triumphantly simple idea for a popular book which will surely also become a staple of social science department reading lists..." (Times Literary Supplement)"

Product Details

  • File Size: 1249 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Publication Date: December 28, 2010
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047T869M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,485 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Milanovic begins this book by explaining, "The objective of the stories around which this book is organized is to show, in an unusual and entertaining way, how inequality of income and wealth is present in many facets of our daily lives, in the stories we read or the discussions we have around our kitchen tables or in our schools or offices, and how inequality appears when we look at certain well-known phenomena from a different angle...The book is organized around three types of inequalities. In the first part, I deal with inequality among individuals within a single community - typically a nation...In the second part, I deal with inequality in income among countries or nations - which is also intuitively close to most of us because it is the sort of thing we notice when we travel, or when we watch the international news...In the third part, I move to the topic whose relevance and importance are of a much more recent vintage: global inequality, or inequality among all citizens of the world."

Professor Milanovic accomplishes this task by introducing the reader to several tools that professional economists use to describe and quantify inequality; "Kuznets' Hypothesis," the "Gini coefficient," and "Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) dollars," to name a few. The book is, on the whole, very engaging and easy to grasp. Each of the three chapters begins with an essay which is followed by several vignettes, or short stories, that give concrete examples of ideas outlined in the essay. There are more than a few spots in this book where Milanovic does a great job of dispelling some widely held myths.
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Format: Hardcover
This short book (about 220 pages) by World Bank economist Branko Milanovic is a great introduction to global economic inequality. The book is made up of three parts: inequality inside of nations, inequality among nations, and inequality among the people of the world. Each of the three sections is introduced with an "essay" that discusses the main ideas and introduces relevant economic tools (such as the Kuznets hypothesis and the Gini coefficient). After each essay Milanivic presents shorter (about six or seven pages each) "vignettes" to help convey the ideas discussed in the preceding essay. For example, one vignette used to convey inequality inside of nations discusses characters' incomes in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". Another vignette discusses inequality in the Roman Empire. The vignettes are not all trivial bits of information, though. In fact, most of the book is a serious exposition of inequality; this book is no mere "Freakonomics" for inequality. Some more serious vignettes are concerned with globalization, economic mobility, and redistribution. In short, this book contains a wealth of information.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If, like me, you are a nut for statistical data about the world, this is a good book for you...assuming you can stay with it to the end. The author presents a wide range of information as the book builds and builds, but it is near the end that the really good stuff comes. It is worth the wait, in my opinion. At the same time, there are sections of the book that bob and weave a bit. And finding a consistent central theme or focus is not easy.

The author is an economist and an academic. He does not appear, however, to be a great humanist. But he knows his history, pointing out that gaps in earnings primarily occur when "people move from agriculture into industry." He points out that folks around the world were relatively equal prior to the industrial revolution in England, and that most folks in most nations at that time were barely at a subsistence level.

Oh, sure, there were rich Kings and Nobles and such along the way, but they were nothing compared to the wealthy industrialists that were to emerge with industrialization. And as far as regions of the world, it is in the first half of the 18th century that Western Europe and North America really begin to separate from the rest of the world in terms of wealth. Prior to that, the comparative wealth of countries in the world was far more even.

In this line of thinking, the author feels that this is the factor that really defeated Karl Marx and his theories: Instead of the differences in inequality between classes around the world leading to change, it was the differences developed between countries and/or regions of the world that would lead to inequalities. But "Workers of the World, Unite," became more and more irrelevant under this scenario.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very well written book, it gets you thinking aobut the meaning of inequality and the way you can see it all over the world. it's not too technical and approachable from different backgrounds (but I'm an economist, and so sometimes I would have liked to see a little more details --> I guess I'll have to read the papers and books cited as references!)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm not an economist, but I am curious about the alarming increase in inequality. I cannot vouch for its accuracy or whether it reflects accepted or well supported ideas by economists or other social scientists. That said, it was incredibly clear, engaging, and in rich in detail and ideas. A great read and very thought provoking. It's logic and theses are compelling and the data it provides here and there are quite absorbing. It considers the history, competing ideas, causes and consequences.

I'm not sold on the vignette approach - though it did help in navigating complex ideas. I was also disappointed that the role of natural capital and environmental sustainability did not figure in discussions of poverty and inequality. I also found the end, or the final vignette about the first and third worlds, not really a great close to an engaging read.

I totally recommend this book, however. Easily the best on the topic I have read. Beautifully written, and I feel I have learned more about this important topic than I have with any other book or media.
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