Saturday, March 29, 2014

Joe Weisenthal — Incredible Chart Shows Why Talking About The Rise Of The 'Wealthiest 1%' Is Totally Flawed



Business Insider
Incredible Chart Shows Why Talking About The Rise Of The 'Wealthiest 1%' Is Totally Flawed
Joe Weisenthal

6 comments:

Dan Kervick said...

OK, but even if the bottom 90% of the top 1% have not seen their wealth increase, we were starting from a disturbing level of inequality preceding 2008. It's not as though everything was fine in America prior to the the financial meltdown.

Dan Lynch said...

This seems to be part of a trend to apologize for the rich as long as they are not super-rich.

Gini is the standard metric for inequality. To reduce the Gini, you have to go after the top 10%, not just the 1%, and not just the 0.1%.

Tho even with Gini, it makes a difference whether you use pre-tax or post-tax income, and whether you include transfers -- and most Gini charts don't specify. So it's complicated.

Tom Hickey said...

That's true, of course, but the issue here is the emergence of a new oligarchy not only of wealth and power but also hereditary privilege through inheritance of wealth and influence.

We're talking about a relative handful of people ruling the world as a hereditary elite not much different from the feudalism that classical liberalism was designed to escape.

But classical liberalism combined with capitalism results in the same situation owing to the tendency of capital to concentrate as not only wealth but also power.

Tom Hickey said...

BTW, this is nothing new. John Dewey was well aware of this and can be read as a rejoinder to the immensely popular Walter Lippmann's advocacy of classical liberalism as the basis of liberal democracy.

Dewey's political philosophy is based on popular democracy whose foundation is the assumption that humans are fundamentally social and can only actualize their potential socially.

Lippmann's liberal democracy is based on republicanism, which fears the the rule of the rabble and therefore deprecates popular democracy as the rule of the majority. Filters must be established to prevent the rabble coming to power and the strongest filter is the primacy of private property, the accumulation of which by an elite ensures their continued power over the masses, who would otherwise act ignorantly and irresponsibly.

Dewey emphasized the importance of education for citizenship in a popular democracy as the sine qua non of an enduring democratic nation. Lippmann thought it impossible since some are by nature better than others and are therefore destined to rule my merit.

See Dewey's Political Philosophy and Walter Lippmann and Democracy by Herbert Aptheker

The Rombach Report said...

Note how the trend lines started to move up starting in mid to late 1970s as inflation kicked in to high gear. Most of that wealth aggregated into the hands of Wall Street operators skilled at gaming the system and syphoning value from the real economy by way of the burgeoning derivatives markets made possible by the abandonment of Bretton Woods.

Calgacus said...

Note how the trend lines started to move up starting in mid to late 1970s as inflation kicked in to high gear. Yes, but the inflation of the 70s was historically important only as an excuse to enact the previously planned abandonment of full employment, worldwide. The USA had higher inflation in the late 40s - but it had no such long term systemic effect. Abandoning Bretton Woods was relatively minor, and partly positive. To reduce inequality is simple - eliminate unemployment.