Trading Away Income Inequality: the Effects of Globalization

Tyler Cowen,

Release Date
May 21, 2015


Poverty & Inequality

Income inequality in America is a serious issue. People are worried about a widening gap between the rich and the poor in the United States. But is the global story the same?
Professor Tyler Cowen tells how, globally, income inequality worldwide is on the decline. Thanks to globalization and free trade, the world is richer, and billions of people have escaped from poverty through the global economy. This is evidenced by the amazing growth of the economies in China and India.
When we talk about income inequality in America, we mustn’t forget that, worldwide, globalization and free trade are the forces that have the potential to eliminate income inequality and bring billions out of poverty.

Does Inequality Matter? Exploring Poverty and Finding a Way Out (Program): Learn about income inequality and solutions to poverty with Learn Liberty.
Income Inequality Is Not Rising Globally. It’s Falling. (Op Ed): Tyler Cowen explains how global income inequality is on the decline in the op ed for The New York Times.
What Wasn’t Said in “Wealth Inequality in America” (Video): Professor Steve Horwitz explains the sometimes misleading information about income inequality.
I Do Not Care About Income or Wealth Inequality (Blog Post): Professor Don Boudreax explains, from an economic perspective, how trying to fix income inequality doesn’t address real problems of fairness and inequality.
Does Inequality Matter? (Blog Post): Professor Matt Zwolinski explains, from a philosophical perspective, how trying to fix income inequality isn’t the best way to help the poor.

Speaker 1: Lately there’s been a lot of discussion of the topic of income inequality. People are pretty upset about the widening gap between the top and the bottom of the economic heap in the United States.
But inequality is a global issue, too, and globally, something fascinating has occurred. Over the last 20 years, income inequality worldwide actually has been falling. Recent economic growth in India, China, and other developing countries has driven a historic period of wealth creation. Billions of people who otherwise would live in poverty are now far better off. The globalization that many say contributes to inequality in the US has had the opposite effect on a global scale, bringing unprecedented levels of prosperity.
As we grapple with income inequality in the US, we should be careful not to destroy the engines of prosperity that have improved the lives of billions. Globalization, free trade, and other foundations of the global economy have been and can continue to be the greatest equalizers the planet ever has seen. Learn more about income inequality with Learn Liberty Academy.