From the United States to the United Kingdom and from China to India, growing inequality has led to social discontent and the emergence of populist parties, also contributing to economic crises. We urgently need a better understanding of the roots and costs of growing income gaps. The Costs of Inequality draws on the experience of Latin America, one of the most unequal regions of the world, using historical examples from different countries to demonstrate how inequality has hampered economic growth and contributed to a lack of good jobs.
Across the region, the wealthy have faced limited incentives to move into new sectors and the poor have not had enough resources to invest in new projects. In fact, low growth, exclusionary politics, violence and social mistrust have reinforced inequality, generating various vicious circles. Latin America thus provides a disturbing image of what the future may hold in other countries.