The Haves and the Have Nots

  • by Branko Milanovic
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Who is the richest person in the world, ever? Does where you were born affect how much money youll earn over a lifetime? How would we know? Why, beyond the idle curiosity, do these questions even matter? In The Haves and the Have-Nots, Branko Milanovic, one of the worlds leading experts on wealth, poverty, and the gap that separates them, explains these and other mysteries of how wealth is unevenly spread throughout our world, now and through time. Milanovic uses history, literature and stories straight out of todays newspapers, to discuss one of the major divisions in our social lives: between the haves and the have-nots.
He reveals just how rich Elizabeth Bennet's suitor Mr. Darcy really was; how much Anna Karenina gained by falling in love; how wealthy ancient Romans compare to todays super-rich; where in Kenyan income distribution was Obamas grandfather; how we should think about Marxism in a modern world; and how location where one is born determines his wealth. He goes beyond mere entertainment to explain why inequality matters, how it damages our economics prospects, and how it can threaten the foundations of the social order that we take for granted. Bold, engaging, and illuminating, The Haves and the Have-Nots teaches us not only how to think about inequality, but why we should.


What the Critics Say

"[A]n eclectic book on inequality…. [Milanovic’s] colorful vignettes…are almost uniformly delightful. No matter where you are on the income ladder, Milanovic’s examination of whether Bill Gates is richer than Nero makes for great cocktail party conversation." (The New York Times Book Review)
Milanovic defies the typical image of an economist by presenting research overlaid with humor, literary insights, and fully imagined portraits of daily life as he examines inequality across time and continents....Accessible and entertaining. (Booklist)
"[A] timely look at the inequality of income and wealth…. Authoritative." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Reading 'The Haves and the Have-Nots'

If you went to grad school in sociology in the 1990s you probably talked about inequality (what we called stratification) all the time. I think I would have sounded more intelligent during these conversations if Branko Milanovic's excellent 'The Haves and the Have-Nots:

A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality' had been available.
Even if you are not a sociology grad student, I highly recommend this (concise) book. Milanovic teaches us the basics of how economists think about and measure inequality, covering the academic research while also providing fascinating short vignettes and stories. We learn about how inequality plays out over generations and across cultures through the economic circumstances of successive generations of the Obama family.

Today's income distribution is compared to both Rome and the gilded age, as we find out who is the richest person to ever walk the planet.
The Haves and the Have-Nots is less a book about causes, why the world is so unequal, and more about descriptions. How does the U.S. compare to China and India in terms of wealth? Is U.S. society more or less equal than European? How does economic inequality relate to immigration? Why does the history of inequality explain why Karl Marx got it wrong?

You will like this short book if you think economic history is about the coolest subject to read about (like me), and if you wonder why some people and some nations seem so poor while others seem to get all the goods.
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- Joshua Kim "mostly nonfiction listener"

Average at best

I loved the title and the summary sounded as if this book was going to be very interesting but while it did have some interesting facts and stats about the inequality of wealth and on the history of wealth, overall, the book was just okay.
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- steve "Addicted to Audible since 2009"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-28-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios