2012 – The Inequality edition

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Tax Justice Focus, Volume 7, Number 2 – the INEQUALITY edition.

July 26, 2012

Download the Inequality edition of Tax Justice Focus here.

This edition of Tax Justice Focus is devoted to inequality. Our guest editors are Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, whose book, The Spirit Level, has been acclaimed worldwide for its comprehensive analysis of how inequality is not just about differences in material comforts, but also has powerful effects that reduce the wellbeing of whole populations.

In our lead article, Nicholas Shaxson, John Christensen and Nick Mathiason explain why studies of economic inequality have systematically underestimated the wealth and income enjoyed by the world’s wealthiest people, because of the enormous and growing sums of ‘hidden’ wealth which are not factored into the calculations at the top of the income scale.

This is followed by Pickett’s and Wilkinson’s editorial, exploring how Inequality doesn’t just affect the poor: it damages the whole social fabric, harming the wellbeing of the vast majority.

In the next article, Danny Dorling examines how tax changes in recent decades have contributed to rising inequality in the United Kingdom.  

David Erdal then explores how wealth distribution has nothing to do with markets: it is a result of the use of power. As he argues, tax isn’t the only way to reduce income inequality.The structure of the enterprise can be used to prevent executive pay and financial engineering from running out of control.

Then Thomas Pikkety, Emmanuel Saez and Stefanie Stantcheva find that contrary to a widely held view, new technologies or globalization, which have affected all OECD countries, cannot explain the fast-increasing income inequality found in countries such as Britain and the United States: The evolution of top tax rates is a good predictor of changes in pre-tax income concentration.

This issue also include Francis Weyzig’s review of Tax Treaties: Building Bridges between Law and Economics (Lang et al, IBFD) and a news in brief section summarising some of the top stories in recent months.

The Inequality edition is available for download here.

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