From Inequality to Instability November 9, 2023 Link


Rising income and wealth inequality in OECD countries during recent decades have attracted much discussion, even anxiety. It is a commonly expressed opinion that growing economic inequality is a major factor explaining the rise of populism and political polarisation, as well as, more generally, increasing socio-political instability—what some have called “polycrisis.” However, analysis of a large historical database on past societies sliding into a crisis, CrisisDB, suggests that growing inequality is not the actual driver of instability; rather, it is a reliable “proxy” for the actual mechanisms that cause crises: popular immiseration and elite overproduction. This finding has major implications for how European societies may be able to surmount the challenges of the polycrisis.
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