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The Haves and the Have Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality

Title: "The Haves and the Have Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality"

Author: Branko Milanovic

Publisher: Basic Books

Type:Non-fiction

Released: December 28, 2010

Length:272 pages

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In his new book, The Haves and the have Nots, World Bank economist Branko Milanovic flips between hard-hitting analysis and airy metaphors from classic stories like Pride and Prejudice to illuminate why inequality exists, and why it's not always such a bad thing.

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The question is always one of degree. As Francis Bacon said, "Money be like muck: it is best if spread round." Or, as the Chinese proverb has it, "When the money is dispersed, the people are united; when the money is united, the people are dispersed." In the late Roman republic, for instance, Caesar recognized that the great wealth of the optimates -- of the few -- gave them far, far too much power. Further, half the population of Rome, and one-third that of Italy, were slaves. (A superb critique of the maldistribution of wealth in the late Roman republic is in Sweet's The Principles of Fighting.) Again, it is all a question of degree...

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