The Divide
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The Divide : A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions

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Description

For decades we have been told a story about the divide between rich countries and poor countries. We have been told that development is working: that the global South is catching up to the North, that poverty has been cut in half over the past thirty years, and will be eradicated by 2030. It's a comforting tale, and one that is endorsed by the world's most powerful governments and corporations. But is it true? Since 1960, the income gap between the North and South has roughly tripled in size. Today 4.3 billion people, 60 per cent of the world's population, live on less than $5 per day. Some 1 billion live on less than $1 a day. The richest eight people now control the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world combined. What is causing this growing divide? We are told that poverty is a natural phenomenon that can be fixed with aid. But in reality it is a political problem: poverty doesn't just exist, it has been created. Poor countries are poor because they are integrated into the global economic system on unequal terms. Aid only works to hide the deep patterns of wealth extraction that cause poverty and inequality in the first place: rigged trade deals, tax evasion, land grabs and the costs associated with climate change. The Divide tracks the evolution of this system, from the expeditions of Christopher Columbus in the 1490s to the international debt regime, which has allowed a handful of rich countries to control economic policies in the rest of the world. Because poverty is a political problem, it requires political solutions. The Divide offers a range of revelatory answers, but also explains that something much more radical is needed - a revolution in our way of thinking. Drawing on pioneering research, detailed analysis and years of first-hand experience, The Divide is a provocative, urgent and ultimately uplifting account of how the world works, and how it can change.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 27mm | 545g
  • Cornerstone
  • William Heinemann Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1785151134
  • 9781785151132
  • 21,969

About Jason Hickel

Jason Hickel is an anthropologist at the London School of Economics. Originally from Swaziland, he spent a number of years living with migrant workers in South Africa, studying patterns of exploitation and political resistance in the wake of apartheid. Alongside his ethnographic work, he writes about development, inequality, and global political economy, contributing regularly to the Guardian, Al Jazeera and other online outlets. His work has been funded by Fulbright-Hays Program, the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust. He lives in London.show more

Review quote

"In this iconoclastic book, Jason Hickel shakes up the prevailing paradigm of "development" at its root. He not only exposes the fatal flaws in the standard model of development but also shows how the "development aid" given to the poor countries in order to promote that erroneous model is vastly outweighed by the resource transferred to the rich countries through an unfair global economic system. Many of the proposals that Hickel makes for institutional reform and intellectual re-framing may sound "mad", as he himself acknowledges, but history has taught us that mad ideas have the habit of becoming respectable over time. This book will radically change the way in which you understand the workings of the global economic system and the challenges faced by poor countries trying to advance within it." -- Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism and Economics: The User's Guide "With passion and panache, Jason Hickel tells a very different story of why poverty exists, what progress is, and who we are. The Divide is myth busting at its best. The West has controlled the rest through colonization, coups, trade and debt. Poor countries are made poor by this; but a dramatic change is coming." -- Danny Dorling, author of Inequality and the 1% "We all like to think of aid and development as benign in a world full of inequality and violence. Jason Hickel rightly challenges this dangerous myth with a book that crackles with facts, indignation and heart. Why hasn't global poverty and hunger really declined in the last decades? A combination of NGO and government obfuscation, denial and wishful thinking is not helping the world's most vulnerable but marking them as numbers. Journalists, aid workers and anybody who has ever given aid (i.e. nearly everybody) should read this book to understand why we all have a responsibility to better serve our fellow human beings. Hickel should be applauded." -- Antony Loewenstein, author of Disaster Capitalism "The Divide is an exceptional, necessary and essential book about the processes that produce and perpetuate impoverishment. Jason Hickel provides here not only a devastating critique of `development' and the aid industry, but also one of the best explanations of how it all works. Written in a captivating and easy to read style, this book must become the standard text for everyone studying, working or interested in development." -- Firoze Manji, author of African Awakening: The Emerging Revolutions "The Divide provides an evolutionary leap in our understanding of inequality and poverty. It should be required reading for anyone hoping to realise a better world." -- Alnoor Ladha, Greenpeaceshow more

Review Text

"In this iconoclastic book, Jason Hickel shakes up the prevailing paradigm of "development" at its root. He not only exposes the fatal flaws in the standard model of development but also shows how the "development aid" given to the poor countries in order to promote that erroneous model is vastly outweighed by the resource transferred to the rich countries through an unfair global economic system. Many of the proposals that Hickel makes for institutional reform and intellectual re-framing may sound "mad", as he himself acknowledges, but history has taught us that mad ideas have the habit of becoming respectable over time. This book will radically change the way in which you understand the workings of the global economic system and the challenges faced by poor countries trying to advance within it." Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism and Economics: The User's Guideshow more