The Age of Increasing Inequality by Lars Osberg

Lars Osberg is a Professor of Economics at Dalhousie University with research interests in labour economics and income and wealth distribution. This, his latest book is subtitled “The Astonishing Rise of Canada’s 1%” which, in the last 35 years has seen a drastic increase in wealth, but not for the other 99% of us. I don’t have a background in economics; I’m doing well to invest any extra income I have. However, Mr. Osberg’s book is written in a way that the layman can get a good grasp of the present distribution of wealth in Canada, yet it dives deep enough to be of invaluable use for a student of economics.

There were many salient points that I learned which were eye-opening to me:

  • the average salary of Canada’s top 100 CEOs in 2016 was 9.8 million dollars
  • in 2015, over 90% of Canadian taxpayers declared total incomes under $100,000
  • surveys do not give us a good picture of the very rich, in part because millionaires and billionaires are so very few in number that they are not often selected in random sample surveys of the population
  • If one thinks of the middle class as the middle 60 percent of the income distribution, the equivalent disposable income range spanned from $26, 200 t0 $68,100 per person

The book’s nine chapters start with “Canadian Income Inequality: The Big Picture” before looking at each income group separately. Then in the final two chapters, it answers the questions “Why Do Economic Inequalities Matter?” and “What to Do”? This well-researched book is chock-full of up-to-date facts and figures (and graphs) that will prove to be quite meaningful to all Canadians.

More praise for The Age of Increasing Inequality:

“Osberg has been studying this topic for decades, since long before it was a hot topic … Had somebody been listening to Osberg then, we might not be where we are at today.” – Atlantic Books Today

“Lars Osberg employs an effective mixture of hard data, well-placed anecdotes, and solutions to create a thorough and multifaceted examination of the issue…Osberg offers one of the most convincing policy prescriptions that I’ve read yet.” – Quill and Quire

*Please note if you choose to purchase this book through Amazon using the link below I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This book is available in Kindle format as well. If you cannot see the Amazon ad below (if you are using an ad blocker, for instance) here is the link: Thanks!

James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. James works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane and their tabby cat Eddie.