Is Australia fair enough? And why does inequality matter anyway? In Battlers and Billionaires, Andrew Leigh weaves together vivid stories, interesting history and powerful statistics to tell the story of inequality in this country. This is economics writing at its best. From egalitarian beginnings, Australian inequality rose through the nineteenth century. Then we became more equal again, with inequality falling markedly from the 1920s to the 1970s. Now, inequality is returning to the heights of the 1920s. Leigh shows that while inequality can fuel growth, it also poses dangers to society. Too much inequality risks cleaving us into two Australias, occupying fundamentally separate worlds, with little contact between the haves and the have-nots. And the further apart the rungs on the ladder of opportunity, the harder it is for a kid born into poverty to enter the middle class. Battlers and Billionaires sheds fresh light on what makes Australia distinctive, and what it means to have – and keep – a fair go. 'Be warned: this book will open your eyes and prick your conscience.' Ross Gittins 'A thought-provoking book which emphasises how far we have strayed from confidently discussing public policies that seek to give meaning to our egalitarian spirit.' Laura Tingle Introducing Redbacks: Books with Bite Redbacks are short books on big issues by prominent Australian writers and thinkers. These timely interventions offer accessible and vital arguments about society and politics. Redbacks will equip, provoke and persuade readers to engage with the national debates that truly matter.