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04 October 2010

Plutocracy

I read this article in GOOD that pointed towards this paper - I recommend both. It's worth really looking at and thinking about the implications of this. The basic takeaway from this is that the bottom 60% of the US populace has no stake in our country, the top 20% for all intents and purposes - own everything, and even rich republican men think the world should be more fair than it is.

Sweden seems to be doing just fine. I'd really like to see this study done throughout the world and within even more specific groups of people - by age, by neighborhood in Chicago, by education, etc.

And yet the Right and even members of economic academia that are pushing for tax cuts for the rich. Deeply troubling and disturbing is an understatement.



The percentage present between the pie charts is explained in the paper. When shown two of the charts unlabeled (didn't know what country it represented) at the same time Americans preferred the Swedish income distribution to our actual distribution. Americans also preferred the Swedish chart to perfect distribution - which in and of itself is fascinating if not surprising.

4 comments:

Justin Santora said...

Much of economic academia (IE- HARVARD) are servants of prevailing power structures, so it comes as no surprise that they call for policies that bolster that power.
That's my take on it, at least. This opinion has not been privatized, but it will be shortly.

Logan said...

I'm not sure I follow. One of the authors of this paper is a Harvard Prof., and he's clearly devoted his current work to showing the income discrepancies of the US. The larger point is that even the powerful think our country is much much more fair that it is in reality.

Logan said...

Oh I see - the part on taxes. Yeah... that's really just slogans (ie - free market, free trade, and all associated with it and no caveats) over models as Krugman terms it.

Justin Santora said...

Oh, I get your point. But yeah, I was talking about tax policy, maniacal Friedmanism, free trade cheerleading, and all the mantras surrounding those things. And I don't mean that everyone at Harvard is a passive servant of power, but it seems like many people coming out of there are taking very safe positions, so to speak.

But about your larger point: Of course the powerful think it's fair. They made the rules. And they control the media, so a large portion of the lower classes are coerced into believing things are pretty fair, too. That's the part where they get mad at immigrants or not-actual-Mosques that won't get built at not-really-Ground-Zero.