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Are We Stuck with Inequality?


Are We Stuck with Inequality?

Robert Kuttner

The latesT study of deepening inequality by three of the most careful scholars of the subject, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saens, and Gabriel Zucman, has prompted another round of shrugs from economists that inequality is just in the nature of the advanced economy.

Supposedly, these inexorable trends reflect technology, globalization, and increasing rewards to more advanced skills. The poor are paid in correct proportion to their contribution to the national product, which, alas, isn’t much.


Yes, we are stuck with inequality. Another thing that we are "stuck" with are people who want to live to 150 years old- call them the immortals.


One of the major causes of income and wealth inequality and the demise of labor unions is that capital is now almost completely mobile around the globe, while labor, i.e., people like you and me, is not. The way the so-called "elites" have been structuring things almost requires a world government to regulate and reign them in. I don't want that and want to keep our United States and others as sovereign nations. Within those parameters, what do we do to stop and reverse the gross inequality which has grown in our country to an alarming amount?


I suspect that this is part of the reasons that some of the push against inequality has again started to come with a nationalist and even at times a xenophobic tinge.

We need to be able to accept international people and information and to insist on local goods and services.


As long as you embrace Capitalism the answer is yes. Capitalism is premised on inequality and the division of people into classes which are determined by how much Capital one has.

No system called Capitalism can address this.

All of this talk about unions, higher minimum wages and the like ignores the forest for the trees.


Unequality? Hell no --ain't no unequality. Ain't we getten' rid of the first n?&&#r president? so there ain't no raisim left neither. And byt the way, none of that global warming either? cause rush told us that years ago, and now truump does, and that kant be no coinseedince. That rigt thair shows it done be the hand of our holy father doin magical thangs. Now, as long as we can coral and keep a billion musslims behind bars--we should be AOK.


Good question: remember those developing nations want "in" , and countries like India and China have huge populations - much more so than the US. The US however uses over 30% of the world's energy supplies much do to all the autos we drive.


And those ferget: those rahts of the ungorn. Yesseree, those unborn just floatin around and waitin for a host body. They matter most.


Of course. Meeting and living with different types of people- that's what makes it interesting.


Of course, but people are paranoid about anything else in the US.


Inequality will obviously get worse with republicans in charge of everything. Until a strong majority of people get sick of this and quit putting republicans in charge of things then there is no hope. And we need far more than a slight majority of democrats. There are always DINOS and those who fear losing their job if they are "too liberal."


We need to get big money out of politics period.


I guess Bernie's rant about the billionaire class paying their fair share is just a distant memory. Those days were magical while they lasted.


I'm still working my way through Thomas Piketty's book - a tough read - since I don't believe economics is economics.

Rather, it is chrematistics - the study of the flow of money, wealth, power and privilege, which is only tangentially related to economics (oikonomia) - the sustainable needs of the household - real goods- real services - in which the contribution of labor is recognized and admired for the absolute necessity it is.

Abraham Lincoln spoke to this, saying labor was far the superior of capital:

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."
Lincoln's First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861.


The only way inequality will be remedied is if -- as is entirely possible, e.g., if the little known and understood currencies market collapses and our faith based global monies stop being worth anything -- the bottom suddenly drops out of the economy. The cushion that wealth provides will not being there and our so-called civilization will either gswiftly degenerate into a self destructive chaotic anarchy and affect its own die off, or a new global spirit of cooperative survival will emerge and a new culture consisting of human nature at its best will work together to find ways,


"...another round of shrugs from economists that inequality is just in the nature of the advanced economy."

--easy for them to say as they aren't on the short end of that stick. Let's not forget to make room for their heads on the chopping block too when the day comes.