Inequality by the Click

Technological change is the essence of economic growth. But new technologies come in subtly different forms, with inherently different economic consequences, and today’s new technologies may have far more troubling distributional effects than those of the electromechanical age.

LONDON – Pope Francis warned in November that “ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace” are driving rapid growth in inequality. Is he right?

In one sense, Francis was clearly wrong: in many cases, inequality between countries is decreasing. The average Chinese household, for example, is now catching up with the average American household (though still with a long way to go).

But such examples do not negate the importance of rising inequality within countries. Both China and the United States are dramatically unequal societies – and are becoming more so.

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