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Chrystia Freeland answers a question during a meeting with staff members at the Thomson Reuters head office in New York, April 19. 2011.Gary Hershorn / Reuters/Reuters

Since the phrase "the 1 per cent" came to signify more than a just a number, income inequality has become a subject of hot debate in policy circles. Chrystia Freeland was awarded the 28th annual National Business Book Award on Tuesday for her work examining "the .01 per cent" – the superrich – and their impact on the economy and on politics.

Ms. Freeland, managing director and editor of consumer news at Thomson Reuters and weekly columnist for The Globe and Mail, was honoured at a lunch event in Toronto for her book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

This shift to a new breed of ultra-wealthy elites, Ms. Freeland writes, is a global trend and "a new reality that will shape the future."

Ms. Freeland is a former deputy editor of The Globe. Her column appears on Fridays in the Report on Business.

The $20,000 award celebrates books published in Canada each year that represent "outstanding talent in business writing." The other nominees this year were Bernie Finkelstein, for True North: A Life in the Music Business; Douglas Hunter, for Double Double: How Tim Hortons Became a Canadian Way of Life One Cup at a Time; and Amanda Lang for The Power of Why.

The Globe and Mail is the media sponsor of the awards.