For the last 40 years, a rising tide of inequality has swept across much of the globe, reversing the achievement of peak equality in many nations in the early postwar decades. Today most rich countries are significantly more unequal than half a century ago.

The trigger for this shift from the dominant postwar philosophy of egalitarianism was an assumption of power by a coterie of small-state, ‘free market’, anti-equality thinkers. For these neoliberal evangelists, equality had gone too far, while faster economic progress, it was said, depended on bigger rewards at the top and accumulation of much larger private fortunes. Although these pro-capital doctrines were applied most forcefully in Anglo-Saxon countries, neoliberalism infected policy-making across much of the globe.

Read the article by Stewart Lansley