Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

Planet-wide, inequality is plummeting


Antipoverty group Oxfam International got a lot of attention for claiming this week that there’s a global “inequality crisis,” but a far more important point is entirely neglected: globally, income distribution is less unequal than it has been for 100 years.

The best data on this comes from Professor Branko Milanovic, formerly of the World Bank, now at City University of New York. His research shows that, mostly because of Asia’s incredible growth, global inequality has declined sharply for several decades, reducing so much that the world hasn’t been this equal for more than a century.

Moreover, the conversation on inequality sparked by Oxfam fails to acknowledge that equality is about much more than money. Look at education and health. In 1870, more than three-quarters of the world was illiterate. Today, more than four out of every five people can read.