27 November 2012

Equality in America

Brad DeLong, the Berkeley economist, has a fascinating post on inequality in America, taken from a conference presentation at his university:
Three Dimensions of Inequality: Global, Educational/Technological, and Plutocratic

He is concerned not just with the increase in inequality but with the political impacts on democracy and equality of opportunity. The fascinating bit is his commentary on the rise of plutocratic inequality since about 1980.
And there is a third dimension, for the rise of the 0.01% produces not just a plutocratic over-class in the United States but a transnational global plutocratic over-class. ... How is (sic) social democratic politics and equality of opportunity going to be attainable in the world of the future? We know that money speaks loudly in politics, but plutocracy seems to be acquiring so much money that speaks very loudly indeed.
His thesis has implications, then, not just for the US; it matters for the rest of us too. It reminds me of similar concerns raised in Robert Peston's book Who Runs Britain?: and Who's to Blame for the Economic Mess We're inwhich also warns of the danger of a new class using its inherited wealth to dominate political decision making.

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