Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bill Mitchell — The poor are getting poorer in the US

Yes, the ‘politics of envy’. That is one of the epithets that the neo-liberal apologists use to defend the fact that the top-end-of-town are increasingly seizing the major proportion of any growth in wealth. They claim that shifts in the distribution of wealth and income do not matter if the levels of each distributional cohort (say, a decile or quintile) are all moving up. They ask the question: Why should a poor person care if a rich person is getting much richer as long as the poor are becoming less poor in absolute terms? The facts are that in advanced countries, the wealth accumulation of the last three decades has not been particularly beneficial to the poorest members of society. The rich have experienced massive gains in wealth even if the poor have enjoyed modest gains. But in the US, not only has the wealth distribution moved heavily towards the top end, the bottom 50 per cent now have less wealth than they had before the GFC began and have not increased their wealth since 1989 (when comparable data is available). And further, even if the bottom end of the distribution improved their absolute position, it still remains a major problem for wealth to be increasingly concentrated among the rich. It erodes the democratic process and increases social polarisation.
Spillover effects. The social, political and economic aspects of a society are entangled and influence each other.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The poor are getting poorer in the US
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

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