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How much better off are the 1 per cent? Quite considerably, according to the latest World Inequality Report, which Martin Wolf picks over in this week's column.

In the 20th century, he writes, two world wars (and revolutions in China and the Soviet Union) reduced inequality. But this was a blip. Wealthy new elites then emerged, gained political power and used it for their own ends.

Unchecked, the resentments this process will breed are a threat to the political system. There are grounds for optimism — not least the fact that policy, particularly on tax and public spending, can spread material abundance quite effectively. But will it?

Martin asks whether the wealthy will value social harmony enough to be willing to offset the continuing pressures towards inequality (the low market value of unskilled work, for example). If not, he warns, it augurs badly for stable democracies in high-income countries: we might get dictators or “plutocratic populism” that keeps the rest of us “divided and docile”.

Too much is at stake to give up on Ukraine: Tony Barber warns that the anti-corruption drive in Ukraine is stagnating, raising serious questions about the viability of the country since the 2014 revolution.

Tax changes set Scotland on a different path: For the first time Edinburgh's devolved administration has used its powers to raise income tax north of the border. David Torrance marks the moment by looking at the potential political consequences.

Silicon Valley would like to cancel Christmas: Izabella Kaminska argues that the endless pursuit of efficiency by the platform companies misses the joys of wastefulness, seen at their best in the festive season.

#MeToo is the latest in the FT's series Year in a Word 2017. And we want your suggestions.

Best of the rest

Britain’s problem is not with Europe, but with England — David Marquand in The Guardian

Has Brexit reshaped British politics? — John Curtice, the doyen of UK polling, for What the UK thinks

We need policy that favours workers and consumers — Angus Deaton in Le Monde

Passing through to corruption by Paul Krugman (about the Republican tax reform bill) in the New York Times

On the tube, I saw the father I had never met — and was happy to find that I had nothing to say to him by Stephen Bush.

What you've been saying

Take disease research data out of the silos — letter from Mark Medish in Washington, DC

“Mr Gates and his fellow healthcare visionaries should be campaigning for nothing less than a global “Manhattan Project” to research cures for these devastating neurological disorders, tapping new digital technologies for record-sharing and data analytics as well as genomics. To achieve the needed level of international co-operation, in addition to much more public and private investment, we will also need to address an array of concrete policy issues such as privacy regulations, the quiet tyranny of existing protocols, and the difficulty of experimenting with off-label treatments that prevent easy cumulation of data and thus slow the advance of science.”

Comment by Sean Citizen on Janan Ganesh's latest column, Loveless loyalty to Theresa May comes at a price for the Tories

“It was said of Czar Nicholas II, last of the Romanovs, that he was “a weak man who thought himself strong because he was stubborn”. It is a huge mistake to confuse inflexibility with strength. It takes courage to admit when you’re wrong and to seek to steer the ship of state on to a different course. Stubbornness, on the other hand, requires nothing more than the ability to close your eyes to failure and bash on regardless. Mrs May certainly conveys an impression of somebody who clings rigidly to a position and ignores disconfirming evidence until it accumulates to an overwhelming level. And she seems unable to handle conflict, telling each person in turn what they want to hear, allowing contradictory positions to accumulate.”

Cologne’s ill-fated subway project was never questioned — letter from Harvey Clark Greisman in the US

“Sir, Omitted from Tobias Buck’s survey of recent German engineering fiascos is the March 2009 collapse of a subway tunnel under construction in Cologne (“Berlin’s new hub airport scheduled to open nine years late”). The resulting sinkhole swallowed the city’s Archive building, effectively erasing a thousand years of history. Two men in a nearby apartment house were killed. And the subway project itself was halted; nearly nine years later, construction has yet to resume, and no one has been held to account . . . ”

Today's opinion

FT View: The City of London falls under Brussels’ wary eye Regulatory equivalence carries a heavy price for the UK

FT View: Europe’s unfinished fight to stem the populist tide The centre right must be wary of validating the views of radicals

FT Alphaville: Would Stalin’s pension fund manager invest in bitcoin? 

Saudi Arabia’s year of living dangerously A vision of the country’s future under Mohammed bin Salman

Silicon Valley’s efficiency mavens would like to cancel Christmas In Big Tech’s utopia, there would be no room for wasteful festive pleasures

Inequality is a threat to our democracies One possible development is the rise of ‘plutocratic populism’

Business School Insider: From Brexit to interview advice: 2017’s top business school blogs Professors offer informative glimpses into the world’s best MBA classrooms

Free Lunch: Inequality does not merit fatalism Wealth taxes are the next frontier in good economic policy

Tax changes set Scotland on a different course The SNP takes the higher tax road and ruptures the UK’s single fiscal territory

Opinion today: The price of keeping May in power Each day she remains in office damages her party’s standing among metropolitan liberal voters

The Big Read: West grows wary of China’s influence game Governments are worried about Beijing’s efforts to shape opinion of its authoritarian system

Too much is at stake to give up on Ukraine Reforms to root out corruption must continue if the independent state is to flourish

Year in a Word: #MeToo Women mobilised online to share their experiences of sexual harassment

FT View: Ramaphosa’s chance to change South Africa Rooting out corruption and improving education are top priorities

Instant Insight: With Ramaphosa, the ANC has voted for self-preservation The new leader can present himself as a credible agent of change

FT View

FT View: The City of London falls under Brussels’ wary eye Regulatory equivalence carries a heavy price for the UK

FT View: Europe’s unfinished fight to stem the populist tide The centre right must be wary of validating the views of radicals

FT View: Ramaphosa’s chance to change South Africa Rooting out corruption and improving education are top priorities

The Big Read

The Big Read: West grows wary of China’s influence game Governments are worried about Beijing’s efforts to shape opinion of its authoritarian system

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