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The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  480 ratings  ·  86 reviews
**As seen on Sky News All Out Politics**

‘There’s no understanding global inequality without understanding its history. In The Divide, Jason Hickel brilliantly lays it out, layer upon layer, until you are left reeling with the outrage of it all.’ - Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics

For decades we have been told a story about the divide between rich countries and
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by William Heinemann (first published 2017)
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David M
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eat a dick, Pinker.


Ha, seriously though, this is a deeply important little book. Seems to me a definitive refutation of the dominant paradigm purveyed by everyone from Bono to Bill Gates to, yes, Steven Pinker. Why the combination of charity and 'free market' capitalism will never be sufficient to alleviate the plight of global poverty. Poverty is not some inexplicable fact of nature, but rather the result of a particular social system, and ultimately there is no humanitarian solution that
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you’ve read Hans rosling or Pinker or Gates or listened to ted talks by them (I’m including you Obama), you have to read this book. You have to.

Poverty is CREATED!
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
We are all concerned about the Global Poor; we all want to help. Many NGOs have been helping the hungry and homeless in poor countries.

Hickel however explained that it is the rich world that first created the Third World. Europeans subjugated and killed almost all the native Americans, and take African slaves to work in the American plantations. The British ruled India and destroyed its then vibrant textile business and forced Indians to buy British textiles; defeated China and forced it to buy
Tadas Talaikis
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics

1. Lowering poverty by increasing GDP growth is a joke, played on poor people by world leaders, because increasing income to $5/day for poorest population purely from GDP will damage climate irreparably with much worse subsequent consequences.

2. Global bank's PPP revisions are discriminatory and doesn't reflect reality. World leaders would with such revisions would reach their "goals" by doing exactly nothing.

3. Several hundred years ago so called "third world" lived better and healthier
Wendy Liu
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: capitalism-etc
Basically a red pill for global inequality. Read this to understand why the North-South divide persists in spite of all the generous "aid" being thrown at the problem.
Bartosz Pranczke
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Since my teenage years, I was a strong believer in laissez-faire economics. I thought that all that the world needs to be fair economically is to just have equality of opportunity. And what is better than neoliberalism to provide that, right?

This book (along with "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" and "Guns, Germs, and Steel") has finally changed my stubborn mind.

I still believe that capitalism is the best economic system humans have invented so far but I stopped believing that the free
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding and eye-opening. A book everyone on this earth must read; for those in the "developing world" to understand how their kind was repeatedly robbed first through brutal violence then through devious means of unfair trade and manipulation, for those in the "developed world" to see the blood on their hands.

Long ago I discovered the fact that world food production exceeds consumption, yet half the planet lives in hunger and poverty. The poor countries were making the food, yet they were
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Sapiens book for capitalism. The economic history of the last 500 years. Why poor countries are poor and why rich countries are rich. What does the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO do. What's up with all those NGOs in Africa.

These are some of questions this book answers. Other reviews said it feels like taking the red pill and leaving the Matrix; it is exactly that. And the answers will make you outrageous.

Maybe you won't learn anything new; global equality is a major issue and we all know
Swapnil Deshpande
This is, hands down, one of THE most outstanding books I have read this year. I found this book un-put-down-able.

Who should read this book?

You should read this book if:

A. You are interested in equality and fairness, you want the world to be a better place, you think about climate change and want to know some of the unknown problems caused by it (and additionally, want to do something about it), you want poorer countries to develop.


B. If you have read Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong
Marwan Shalaby
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book in my opinion serves two purposes: The first being turning major narratives and conventional wisdom on their head, and the second being serving as a straight forward, accessible alternative history of how the global status-quo came to be. Hickel cleverly and effortlessly dissects and refutes the following economic tropes that are commonly heard within Liberal circles. They include but are not limited to:

1- The world is getting better (propagated by the likes of Steven Pinker and Jordan
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Did not finish - I got about halfway before giving up.
While I gave this book a 2, I thought some parts deserved a 3, and many others deserved a 1.

The author has some good information and history about parts of colonialism and conquest that happened for 500 years. There is no disputing the facts of what happened, and he correctly captures much of the negative that happened. With that being said, he draws conclusions that do not seem to be supported by the facts, exaggerates others, and makes
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me MONTHS to read this book because it made me so angry I'd read a little bit an then have to put it down.
If you think "Africa/Latin America/poor countries in general just can't get their shit together" read this and learn why. It's eye-opening and infuriating.
Luckily his solutions at the end - while difficult - are feasible and encouraging. We CAN have an equitable world and slow some of this climate destruction and poverty, we just have to start giving a shit.
Thom Behrens
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal book. Total gut punch. For anyone concerned with either global inequality of climate change, this should be on the “must read” list.
Yevgeniy Brikman
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book argues that the popular narrative that, thanks to the spread of capitalism, the rates of global poverty and hunger in poor countries are going down, is wrong. The reality, according to Hickel, is that poverty and hunger are increasing, as is the divide between rich and poor countries, and that this is due to deep injustice and inequality built into the global economic system. This system is structured to allow rich countries to extract all the value from poor countries, so it's really ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a powerful intervention. Must-reading for anyone who wants to understand what caused mass poverty and global inequality, and why it persists today. Hickel challenges many of the dominant assumptions out there, and does so in a clear and readable way - his writing is accessible and engaging to a lay audience. This book will challenge you and inform you, and will undoubtedly change the debate about global inequality and its solutions.
Mr. Hickel brings us back to reality in an incrediby concise, factual, entertaining and simple way. Thank you Mr. Hickel.

The definitive smackdown of Steven Pinker's (see The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined and Hans Rosling's (see Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think) ideologies. If you've read this and you still believe Pinker and Rosling well, I get it: Smile or Die (read the book titled this by Barbara
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book does a fantastic job of dispelling the harmful rumor that "everything is getting better" and "we'll be just fine" regarding inequality and global warming. It walks us through the history of various ways that western countries have extracted value (in various forms) from other countries and how that has had harmful effects and is still preventing those countries from developing and preventing people in those countries from living their best lives.
Samuel Weitekamp
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was very good as it gave the lie to our Western notions of aid to the global south. It also helped me understand where some gaps in my own understanding were regarding the global history of colonization.
An essential read for everyone. It will outrage you and hopefully it will also inspire you to take action by holding corporations and governments accountable, by taking tangible actions to reduce your own footprint, and for considering issues with a longer historical context.
Q Crain
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: econ
Incredible!! Required corrective to the intellectual pablum of say Steven Pinker on these topics.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not a “must read,” but a solid, concise overview of where the capitalist-colonial project had led us, and what folks are trying to get us out of this mess.
Santhoshi Srilaya
A pretty well-rounded analysis about current global poverty and wealth inequality. These are political problems and they need political solutions. The current system has come into place with violence, withstood for several centuries with exploitation and is going to ruin our future. As an undergrad economics student, I now have a completely different perspective about the things I'm learning. Most of mainstream economics is conviniently decoupled from history and 'The Divide' reminds us why we ...more
Neal Leslie
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every now and then I read something that really changes the way I view the world. I've never really thought about why some countries are poor. We've all seen the TV ads asking for foreign aid and I'm sure never thought much about it.

In "The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions,' Jason Hickel examines the roots of global inequality. Contrary to popular belief, poor countries or, as he terms them the Global South, are not poor because of geography, inept or corrupt
Andrew Rodriguez
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Spectacular analysis of the crippling deficits which burden humanity in our modern age, a consequence of rapacious capitalists whose avarice is boundless. Don't believe anything the IMF and WTO tout, they're the beneficiaries of their own global agenda for the affluent and against the destitute. Only flaw is that the closing section about de-developing doesn't proffer many solutions for the ordinary citizen, but the book is so pregnant with information that this oversight is forgivable.
Tomas Bella
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
While I tend to agree with most of the author's recommendations at the end of the book like debt forgiving and need to fight against wage inequality, the whole book is just annoying; simplifying all the world's problems into "Capitalism, imperialism, free trade - bad!" mantra, while ignoring the obvious problems with all their alternatives.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting read, inforced the idea of capitalism coming from racism. I especially appreciated the last few chapters which listed out some potential solutions for overcoming inequality.
Rashid Yasin
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been looking for a book covering this topic for years (which is longer than it's actually been written). Drawing from the work of Ha-Joon Chang (a personal favorite) and others, Hickel paints a vivid description of how colonial nations have subjugated the rest of the world and how they continue to do so through the present neoliberal era. Hickel describes the continued unequal relationship between rich and poor countries as set up as a modern version of colonialism which creates wealth ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is The Divide in short? Nothing less than an historical primer to the political economy of current global inequality, shading the ruthless economic control of the rich over the poor as it ripples across the gradual counterplay of financial policy tools and institutions against "aid / developmental" discourse.

For me, I read this partially as a palate cleanser from the hilariously terrible Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, which is the kind of highly-lauded rudimentary garbage
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever wondered why some countries are poor and others are rich? Why some seem to have too much of everything, while others have too little. We know about colonialism, yes. But why did some countries have the audacity to go to other placed and rob them of their livelihoods in the first place? And why did it not get better when previous colonies became independent? Why is the global North seemingly so much better off than the global South? And why does this not change despite so many ...more
Mbogo J
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've lost count the number of times while reading this book I kept nodding my head and muttering under my breath, true true or word! or preach or even truer words have never been written than what I had just read. Needless to say, all the stars in the galaxy will not be enough to rate this book.

The genesis of that glowing review traces its roots to some time last year when I was conducting some research on why most aid projects were not translating into real development. I came to a realisation
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