Since the 1980s, financial crises have erupted about once a decade. The last one erupted in 2008. And there are disturbing parallels between the 1980s debt crisis in Latin America, the 1990s financial crisis in Asia, and the deepening financial turmoil in emerging markets such as Turkey today. Which is why it is surprising that the subject of the next crisis was missing from this year’s agenda at the annual economic policy symposium, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Admirers and detractors of Margaret Thatcher can agree that she will be remembered as one of the key political architects of our times. Along with her soulmate, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, she broke decisively with the post-war Keynesian welfare state and ushered in the still-enduring age of neo-liberalism.
Increased inequality is a phenomenon that has affected many countries since the 1980s—industrial, emerging market and developing. At the same time, some countries have become more unequal than others. Thus, it is important to try to distinguish factors that have been at work universally from factors that have served either to retard or to exacerbate inequality at the national level. The latter category comprises, among others, income transfers, progressive income taxation and active labour market policies aimed at generating decent jobs and full employment. However, this note focuses on the former—the universal factors.