THE DIVIDE: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions by Jason Hickel

  • Written by  Jon Wright
  • Published in Books
THE DIVIDE: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions by Jason Hickel
07 Aug
Jason Hickel’s bold book is full of stark facts and assumption-busting pronouncements. Global poverty and hunger, he avers, are not in decline, and the gap between rich and poor is not narrowing

Sixty per cent of people live on less than $5 a day, a billion people scrape by on less than $1, and the ‘eight richest men in the world have as much wealth between them as the poorest half of the world’s population combined.’

We tend to see poverty as unavoidable, even natural, but Hickel rejects this premise. It was only 500 years ago, with the birth of the West’s colonial project, that ‘mass poverty became an issue for the first time in history.’ We approach poverty as a technical issue, to be alleviated through economic policy and mighty international organisations, but perhaps these supposed solutions are part of the problem? Instead of creating a cheery narrative defined by concepts such as development and progress, we should overhaul the entire system. Hickel scolds some lofty targets (the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO included) for creating an ‘inequality machine’. In order to participate in the global economic cut and thrust, poorer nations are required to play by certain rules and embrace structural adjustment. This, for Hickel, represents de facto control of their policies and is an assault on sovereignty.

The answer? For Hickel, the abolition of the debt burden, the democratisation of international bodies, a global minimum wage, and a trading system with a bias in favour of poorer nations would all be good places to start

Click here to purchase The Divide a Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions by Jason Hickel

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.


Subscribe Today


Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester




Travel the Unknown


Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    Hung out to dry
    Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for mill...


NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...


by Robin Hanbury-Tenison •  IB Tauris •  £17.99 (hardback)


by Daniel Schwartz •  Thames & Hudson •  £40 (hardback)


by Nigel Hughes •  £25 (hardback)


by Caitlin Doughty •  Weidenfeld & Nicolson •  £14.99/£7.99 (hardback/eBook)


Directed by Ivo Van Hove •  National Theatre


by Norman Davies •  Allen Lane •  £30 (hardback)


This intimate east London exhibition provides a multi-sensory exploration into…


by Kiyonori Kanasaka (translated by Nicholas Pertwee) • Renaissance Books…


by Steven Price Brown • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback/eBook)


by Jo Woolf • Sandstone Press • £24.99 (hardback)


An epic journey through the Amazon in a traditional dugout…


by Victor Mallet • Oxford University Press • £20 (hardback/eBook)


Get 30% off the cover price of this in-depth journey…


Twenty one years, sixteen countries, seven continents... RGS-IBG director, Rita…


by Peter Millar • Arcadia Books • £20 (hardback)


by the National Archives • £25/£21.99 (hardback/eBook)


by Leon McCarron • IB Tauris • £17.99 (hardback)