Consider the following two headlines and the fact they describe events that are occurring simultaneously: “Grains piled on runways, parking lots, fields amid global glut” and “Famine looms in four countries as aid system struggles to cope, experts warn.” How can it be that human civilization is producing so much food we’re running out of places to put it, and at the same time famine is spreading? It’s a question like this that lies at the heart of the 21st century. It’s the question of inequality.
—William Gibson
Something is wrong. If degrees of inequality can be thought of as degrees of temperature, climate change isn’t our only man-made heating problem. Our distributional thermostat appears to have broken decades ago, and as a result the world is now sweating profusely and looking at 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) as some kind of utopian fantasy. Where economic …