The IMF’s Christine Lagarde speaking on a panel on the middle classes at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (Image credit: Ruben Sprich/Reuters)

Middle classes in crisis, IMF's Christine Lagarde tells Davos 2017

IMF head wins support from outgoing US vice-president Joe Biden as she demands action over rising inequality

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has called for urgent action to tackle a middle-class crisis as she warned that inequality, distrust and a lack of hope were fuelling growing populism.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Lagarde said she had first highlighted the dangers of rising inequality four years ago but had been ignored. “I hope people will listen now,” she said.

Lagarde said the gulf between rich and poor was evident from an Oxfam report showing that eight billionaires own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – 3.6 billion people.

“With lower growth, more inequality and much more transparency, you have the good ingredients for a crisis of the middle classes in the advanced economies,” she said.

Lagarde added that the answer was not for countries to turn their back on globalisation but a...Read more...