It’s not surprising that the naysaying comes mostly from spokespersons for the 1%, who, after all, are the chief beneficiaries of this trend and anxious to keep it from reversing. They also have the loudest megaphones in media and the most assiduous supporters in government.
That makes efforts like the World Inequality Database essential. Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Paris, the WID is funded by the Paris School of Economics, the Ford Foundation and numerous other grant-making government research agencies and nonprofit foundations in Europe and the U.S. Its executive committee includes three of our leading experts on economic inequality, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of UC Berkeley and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics.
The WID relies on a vast store of data from government accounts, household surveys and tax data, among other categories. In its latest report, the database reduces this material to a series of graphs showing the history of inequality and its possible future — or futures, dependent as they are on government policy choices.