The Price of Inequality, published in 2012, was one of the first and most prominent books to address the increasingly important topic of income inequality, and helped to expand the conversation beyond the rag-tag group of squatters in Zucotti Park and into the larger civic discourse. Miley Cyrus and all the healthcare.gov trouble will be remembered as major things that happened last year, but the steady drumbeat of attention paid to inequality and its effects was the most sustained and meaningful topic of 2013.
President Obama is talking about it. Pope Francis is talking about it, saying that “Inequality is the root of social ills.” Fast food workers are marching for a raise in the minimum wage, an issue that is getting serious consideration in places like Bloomberg Businessweek.
The New York Times ran a series called The Great Divide, while the New Yorker mapped income inequality along the city’s subway map. In November, Switzerland held a vote to forbid companies from paying their highest paid employee more than 12 times what they pay the lowest compensated — on the premise that no one person should make more in a month than someone else makes in a full year. The referendum failed, but the issue is not going away.