Economic inequality has recently gained considerable academic attention. However, two important aspects of inequality have not been discussed systematically: its multidimensional nature and the question of what can be done to reverse it. This book offers insights from scholars representing the Global Labour University, which operates in Brazil, Germany, India, South Africa and the US. They analyse the various drivers of inequality, assess policy responses, and discuss counterstrategies.

The main findings of this book are that rising levels of inequality cannot be addressed only with the standard policies responses, namely education, redistribution and ‘green growth’. In addition, the way markets currently function needs to be corrected. The chapters in this volume focus on specific fields of contemporary capitalism where important drivers of inequality are located, for example, the labour market; the financial system; the tax system; multi-national corporations; and gender relations. Other chapters discuss in detail where political opportunities for change lie. They critically assess existing countermeasures; the idea of a ‘green economy’ and its implications for inequality; and existing campaigns by trade unions and new social movements against inequality. In line with the global nature of the problem, this book contains case studies on countries both from the north and south with considerable economic and political weight.

This book provides academics, political practitioners and civil society activists with a range of ideas on how to drive back inequality. It will be of interest to those who study political economy, development economy and labour economics.

chapter 1|12 pages


part I|46 pages

The challenge of inequality

chapter 2|16 pages

The rise of inequality across the globe

Drivers, impacts and policies for change

part II|52 pages

Drivers of inequality

chapter 6|13 pages

The impact of the financial sector on inequality

A comparison of the USA, Brazil, Germany and India

chapter 7|18 pages

Multinational corporations and economic inequality in the Global South

Causes, consequences and countermeasures in the Bangladeshi and Honduran apparel sector

part III|69 pages

Country case studies

chapter 8|19 pages

The US economy

Explaining stagnation and why it will persist

chapter 11|17 pages

Brazil in the last 20 years

Searching for a new accumulation regime

part IV|45 pages

Critiques of conventional political responses

chapter 12|16 pages

Greening inequality?

Limitations of the ‘green growth' agenda

chapter 14|14 pages

New trends in inequality

The financialisation of social policies

part V|44 pages

Merits and limits of alternative political responses

part VI|46 pages

Tools for counter-strategies

chapter 19|14 pages

(Un)typical labour struggles

Creative campaigns to challenge inequality