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Liberalism Summed Up In One Anecdote

Branko Milanovic

I was in a think tank in Washington. The president of the think tank told me: “Well, you can do whatever you want, but just don’t call it inequality. Put the word poverty there. Because we have many rich people on our board, and when they see the word poverty that makes them feel good, because [it means] they’re really nice people who care about the poor. When they see the word inequality it makes them upset, because [it means] you want to take money from them.”

–   Branko Milanovic, lead economist in the World Bank’s research department and the  world’s leading authority on global income inequality, in a February 8 lecture at the London School of Economics.

According to Milanovic’s CV, the only Washington think tank he has worked at is the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Currently the group’s board of trustees includes the CEO of PIMCO, the former chairman of Caterpillar, and the head of global banking at Citigroup.


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