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Inequality is not just about the size of our wallets. It is a socio-cultural order which, for most of us, reduces our capabilities to function as human beings, our health, our dignity, our sense of self, as well as our resources to act and participate in the world. This book shows that inequality is literally a killing field, with millions of people dying premature deaths because of it. These lethal effects of inequality operate not only in the poor world, but also, and increasingly, in rich countries, as Therborn demonstrates with data ranging from the US, the UK, Finland and elsewhere. Even when they survive inequality, millions of human lives are stunted by the humiliations and degradations of inequality linked to gender, race and ethnicity, and class.
But this book is about experiences of equalization too, highlighting moments and processes of equalization in different parts of the world - from India and other parts of Asia, from the Americas, as well as from Europe. South Africa illustrates the toughest challenges. The killing fields of inequality can be avoided: this book shows how.
Clear, succinct, wide-ranging in scope and empirical in its approach, this timely book by one of the world’s leading social scientists will appeal to a wide readership.
Göran Therborn is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Cambridge and author of The World: A Beginner’s Guide.
Table of Contents
I. The Fields
1. Human, Nasty, and Short: Life under Inequality
The Short Lives of the Unequalized
2. Behind the Doors of Exclusion
3. Theoretical Cross-Draught
The Difference between Difference and Inequality What Equality Is Desirable?
Inequality and Poverty
Opportunity: Should “Losers” Have Another Chance?
4. Three Kinds of (In)Equality and Their ProductionDimensions of Human Capability Four Mechanisms of (In)Equality
5. Inequality and the Rise of Modernity
Three Master Narratives
6. A Historical Six-Pack: Three Inequalities in Global and National History
IV. Today´s Unequal World
7. Current World Patterns and Dynamics
Unequal Developments among the Unequals
The World´s Pattern of Income Inequality
8. Three Puzzles of Contemporary Inequalities Why Have the Northern Welfare States Failed on Vital Inequality?
Why has Existential Egalitarianism Become so Successful?
Is there a Connection between recent Inter-national Convergence and Intra-national Unequalization?
V. Possible Futures
9.Overcoming Inequality- Yesterday and Tomorrow Moments of Equality
Forces of Equality
10. The Decisive Battlefields of Future (In)Equality The Image of Inequality
The Three Key Institutions of Inequality
The Decisive Battle - For the Orientation of the Middle Classes