Subtitle: Social Inequalities in a Global Age. Cambridge, Polity, 2011 (Kindle edition)

The concept of inequality is seen in this volume as a complex configuration which includes social, political and economic dimensions.

In particular Bauman takes issue with the question of poverty, or "that most extreme and troublesome sediment of social inequality", which often results in prejudiced accusations to the poor of being responsible for crime instead of examining the social condition that leads to poverty and marginalization.

Recent varieties of poverty might be defined as the "collateral casualty of profit-driven, uncoordinated and uncontrolled globalization".

The "economic freedom of the market" which, in the globalized economy, supposedly "promotes economic growth", creates inequality and has a reflection on politics as run  by authoritarian institutions in a number of countries.

The collective social dimension of the agora (public square, meaning participatory democracy) is not enhanced in globalization due mainly to the fact that "the state is less and less able to promise its subjects existential security", a task which, in late modernity, is mostly "left to skills and resources of each individual on his or her own".

The formula "globalization of inequality" could therefore be adopted.

On a quantitative level this is shown by the high disproportion between the small number of those who own the majority of wealth and resources, and the majority of the people: "ninety per cent of the total wealth of the planet remains in the hands of just 1 per cent of the planet's inhabitants".

Bauman quotes a 2008 statement by Glenn Firebaugh: "we have a reversal of a longstanding trend, from rising inequality across nations and constant or declining inequality within nations, to declining inequality across nations and rising inequality within them".

[Roberto Bertoni]