The Great Divide: global income inequality and its cost

Surging income inequality has turned the United States into one of the most divided developed economies on the planet.

The US is leading a global trend that economists warn has dire consequences.

For our special report on “The Great Divide,” GlobalPost journeyed from Brazil to Thailand, and back home to Fairfield County, Connecticut and Selma, Alabama, to get at the “ground truth” of global income inequality and its cost.

In cities around the world, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

And in each of these cities, that growing inequality comes with a cost.

The greatest cost is the political and economic instability that accompanies vast disparities of wealth, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told GlobalPost, using the United States as an example.

“We are paying a very high economic price for this inequality – our economy is less productive and efficient,” Stiglitz said. “We are also paying a price in terms of our politics and our society — inequality is undermining our democracy and our basic values.”

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