Recent work in economics has established the contiguity between neoliberalism and the return of growing material inequality. One hundred people now own as much as half of humanity, five hundred as much as two thirds.
Starkest in Anglophone countries that undertook neoliberal reform earliest, rising income and wealth inequality are now evident globally and in many places have been compounded by cuts in government services used by people on low incomes. In Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty argues that on current trends inequality will soon become the most extreme since records began, outstripping that seen in the pre-war peak of the 1920s and the six-decade run that resulted in the development of socialism in the mid-nineteenth century.
Culture and social differentiation are closely linked in much cultural studies but what can we make of the pervasive ‘return to inequality’?
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