The Age of Increasing Inequality

The Astonishing Rise of Canada's 1%

by Lars Osberg

A distinguished economist breaks the silence and explains why most Canadians are stuck — while a few grow rapidly more wealthy

Canada is in a new era. For 35 years, the country has become vastly wealthier, but most people have not. For the top 1%, and even more forthe top 0.1%, the last 35 years have been a bonanza.

Canadians know very well that there's a huge problem. It's expressed in resistance to tax increases, concerns over unaffordable housing, demands for higher minimum wages, and pressure for action on the lack of good full time jobs for new graduates.

This book documents the dramatic and rapid growth in inequality. It identifies the causes. And it proposes meaningful steps to halt and reverse this dangerous trend.

Lars Osberg looks separately at the top, middle and bottom of Canadian incomes. He provides new data which will surprise, even shock, many readers. He explains how trade deals have contributed to putting a lid on incomes for workers. The gradual decline of unions in the private sector has also been a factor. On the other end of the scale, he explains the growing high salaries for corporate executives, managers, and some fortunate professionals. Lars Osberg believes that increasing inequality is bad for the country, and its unfairness is toxic to public life. But there is nothing inevitable about this, and he points to innovative measures that would produce a fairer distribution of wealth among all Canadians.

About the Author

Lars Osberg
LARS OSBERG is a Professor of Economics at Dalhousie University with research interests in labour economics and income and wealth distribution. He received his PhD in Economics from Yale University and has published numerous articles in academic journals and seven books, including Unnecessary Debts, co-edited with Pierre Fortin. He is a past President of the Canadian Economics Association.


"Thoughtful, brilliant, soft-spoken and genuinely concerned about the impact of growing inequality on democracy, Canadian society and Canadians, Osberg's new book examines decades of income data and issues a stern warning about the consequences of inequality: worrisome instability."
Lana Payne, The Telegram
"The book is clear and accessible. Still, Osberg doesn't gloss over the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of the issue ... The Age of Increasing Inequality is a valuable starting point in understanding how our increasingly unequal Canada came to be. This is crucial information if we want to change it."
Yutaka Dirks, Rabble
"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


Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing

Subjects (BISAC)

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