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Tony Atkinson never stopped believing in an alternative

The great economist, who has died aged 72, refused to swallow orthodoxies

By Tom Clark  

Tony Atkinson in 2015 ©Niccolò Caranti

These days everyone knows we’ve got an inequality problem. Earnest executives will chat about Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century at Davos, and the IMF will warn us all to mind the gap.

It is difficult, however, to get across to anyone who was not involved in economics before the crisis just how indifferent the discipline had become to the question of “who got what.” “Of the tendencies that are harmful to sound economics,” wrote the Nobel prize-winner Robert Lucas,…

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