Episode #368: Capitalism, Inequality and Opportunity with Branko Milanovic

Branko Milanovic is a Presidential Professor at the Graduate Center and a senior fellow at the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality. He obtained his Ph. D. in economics from the University of Belgrade with a dissertation on income inequality in Yugoslavia. He served as lead economist in World Bank Research Department for almost 20 years and as a senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington from 2003 to 2005. He has held teaching appointments at the University of Maryland (2007-2013) and at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (1997-2007).

He is the author of Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World. In it,  he argues that capitalism has triumphed because it works. It delivers prosperity and gratifies human desires for autonomy. But it comes with a moral price, pushing us to treat material success as the ultimate goal.

In what is becoming an increasingly polarised world, I really enjoyed getting somewhat out of my comfort zone to talk economics with Branko.

We went an inch deep a mile wide in this conversation and covered numerous topics, including:

-       The merits of capitalism, its criticisms and what could be improved

-       Equality of outcome versus equality of opportunity

-       Whether inequality is an avoidable feature of nature

-       Job automation and UBI; and

-       Inequality in sports, namely professional soccer

With that, I bring you my conversation with Branko Milanovic.

Topics Discussed:

-       Why capitalism prevailed

-       What capitalism gets wrong

-       How capitalism could be improved

-       What really influences inequality

-       Is inequality necessary?

-       Equality of outcome v equality of opportunity

-       Trickle down effects

-       Egalitarian capitalism

-       Why taxes are not the answer

-       The link between taxes and innovation

-       Political capitalism (China) and its pitfalls

-       Automation and UBI

-       The decrease in inequality between countries, but the growing inequality within them

-       Political polarisation

-       Plutocracy and populism

-       The perils of materialism

-       Inequality in soccer

Show Notes:

Twitter: @brankomilan

Capitalism, Alone: https://amzn.to/34v2GvJ

Global Inequality: https://amzn.to/2OQET2M


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