January 19, 2015

The Daily Durning: Engineering the Climate and Economy

Several links coming on the Oxfam briefing timed to coincide with the start of the Davos World Economic Forum: “The richest one per cent of people globally are poised to own more than half of all wealth by next year.”

Durning likes this piece in The Guardian by Suzanne Moore

Inequality isn’t inevitable, it’s engineered

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Most of us – I count myself – are economically inept. The economic climate is represented as a natural force, like uncontrollable weather. It’s a shame that the planet is getting hotter, just as it’s a shame that the rich are getting richer. But these things are man-made and not inevitable at all. In fact, there are deliberate and systemic reasons as to why this is happening.

The rich, via lobbyists and Byzantine tax arrangements, actively work to stop redistribution. Inequality is not inevitable, it’s engineered. Many mainstream economists do not question the degree of this engineering, even when it is highly dubious. This level of acceptance among economists of inequality as merely an unfortunate byproduct of growth, alongside their failure to predict the crash, has worryingly not affected their cult status among blinkered admirers.

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wealth

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  1. Wealth distribution is really only a part of the inequality story because for most people the most important thing is income. It is true that most people have very little wealth, but it does not mean that they have no income.

    In developed countries income inequality has increased markedly but especially when considering the top 0.1%. The rich have done well, but it is the super rich that have knocked it out of the park. But the global picture is different. This describes more of a developed country situation:

    https://pricetags.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/chart-of-the-year-income-growth-and-inequality/

    But this describes the situation globally:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/01/recent-history-in-one-chart/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body&_r=0

    Obviously the rich on the right have done well, but actually the global middle has also done well. And this accords what we can see going on in the world. Massive growth and development in Asia and at least a billion people lifted out of poverty in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and China.

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