In his contribution to the "What Is Inequality?" series, Pedro Ramos Pinto provides a critical history of both scholarly and public attention to inequality. Ramos Pinto examines the development of GDP as a mode of comparing inequality across nation-states as well as recent efforts at documenting changes in income distribution within countries. He concludes with a paradox: a principal focus on the income levels of individuals risks oversimplifying and misunderstanding inequality, but at the same time provides a concise and potent rallying cry for egalitarian movements that contest it.
Pedro Ramos Pinto
Pedro Ramos Pinto is a lecturer in international economic history at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Trinity Hall. He directs the Inequality & History Network, and his current research explores the links between the historical origins of welfare systems in Latin America and Southern Europe and contemporary patterns of inequality. His recent works include the books Lisbon Rising: Urban Social Movements in the Portuguese Revolution, 1974–1975 (Manchester University Press, 2013), and The Impact of History? Histories at the Beginning of the 21st Century (Routledge, 2015).