Inequality emerged as a social concern during the Enlightenment and was seen
as violating the norm of human equality. Three main development narratives
were generated following this concern: one of long-term equalization (de
Tocqueville), one of polarization (Marx), and one of modern rising inequality
followed by equalization (Kuznets). Although each of these narratives was able
to score some points, none of them fully captured the actual trajectory of the
inequality curve which is currently bending upwards towards more inequality.
21st century inequality studies are taking off in new directions, multiscalar,
multi-dimensionally rooted in recent moral philosophy, and more focused on
causal mechanisms and forces. Since early modernity a centre of economic
inequality in the world, Latin America has a special relevance to inequality
studies. Nevertheless, it is currently the only world region with a
predominant tendency of equalization.
Inequalities and Latin America
from the enlightenment to the 21st century
Working Paper Series / desiguALdades.net