Author: Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (@rivefuentes)
A piece of feedback is always well received. During the holiday break, the Guardian ran a pice about the 10 ten most-read business stories in 2014. The research we did on inequality and concentration of wealth around the world (“Working for the Few”) and Britain (“Tale of Two Britains”) are the focus of the stories in spots 4 and 5, respectively. Our contributions are sandwiched between a story on “Tesco’s ‘penis’-themed buttermilk and other design fails” (number 3) and one on fights in planes over seat reclining (number 6). The Guardian readers sure like diversity in their topics.
Anyway, 2014 was the year that inequality became mainstream, as the Guardian story suggest. The English translation of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century was probably the most important contribution. But it’s also worth remarking the constant push by the IMF, and Christina Lagarde in particular, on the topic. Just read some of what she said last year: “Fundamentally, excessive inequality makes capitalism less inclusive. It hinders people from participating fully and developing their potential.” It’s a big turnaround from about a decade ago. Anne Krueger, then First Manager Deputy Director at the Fund, used to say then: “One has to wonder about this preoccupation with inequality” – I wonder if she’s changed her position given the recent evidence.
I’m happy we were able to contribute to this change in the public debate. Lots more to do, among them make sure that the UN post-2015 process keeps the issue of inequality at the center of the agenda. Back to work now. Happy 2015!