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The Inequality of Nations


  • Freeman, Alan


This is a prepublication version of an analysis of the world economy which appeared in ‘The Inequality of Nations’ in Freeman, A, and Boris Kagarlitsky (eds) (2004) The Politics of Empire: Globalisation in crisis. London: Pluto Press. ISBN: 0 74532 183 6. It develops and presents rigorously much of the analysis of ‘The New world order and the failure of globalisation’ presented to the annual conference of the British International Studies Association in 2002. To this it adds a substantial analysis of inequality within the main continental blocs in the economy today. It uses data published by the IMF’s World Economic Outlook team to assess the progress of inequality and grown since ‘globalisation’, understood as the period of intense financial deregulation and the creation of a world market in capital. It establishes that over the period of globalisation world inequality, measured as the ratio of income per capita in the global south as a whole and the global north as a whole, has more than doubled, whilst growth has been largely static. Inequality between the nations making up the ‘global south’ has however decreased rather than increased; thus the world economy retains, in a remarkably stable manner, the same characteristics it has possessed since 1914. It contains a bloc of rich nations containing about one fifth the population of the world, and the remainder, containing four-fifth the population, with inequality between the two blocs rising secularly in the long run. The article argues that competition between advanced nations now takes place on a continental scale, a process driving European responses to the crisis of US hegemony, and that responses from within the global south can be expected to acquire also a continental dimension. Documents containing charts and slides used to present the material to a seminar organised by the Norway Social Forum in Oslo, June 2003 may be obtained from the author

Suggested Citation

  • Freeman, Alan, 2004. "The Inequality of Nations," MPRA Paper 5589, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5589

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    Cited by:

    1. Freeman, Alan, 2007. "Explaining national inequality: the relevance of Marx and the irrelevance of equilibrium," MPRA Paper 6836, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Freeman, Alan, 2007. "The modernity of backwardness," MPRA Paper 6831, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Nick Potts, 2011. "The missing C that threatens to flood us all," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 273-290, February.
    4. Freeman, Alan, 2013. "Learning from the makers of history: Bolshevism, Bolivarianism, and the Legacy of Hugo Chavez," MPRA Paper 52309, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Dec 2013.

    More about this item


    Divergence; stagnation; World Economy; Kondratieff; Development; Europe; US; value; price; TSSI; temporalism; profit rate; polarisation; inequality; globalisation; deregulation; imperialism; World Systems Theory; unequal exchange; dependency; North-South;

    JEL classification:

    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General
    • B00 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General - - - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General


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