Inequality in the United States is now so obscene that it’s impossible, even for mainstream economists, to avoid the issue of surplus.Read more
It should be clear to all that finance has been fundamentally transformed since Adam Smith’s day, from a highway that was supposed to serve us into a master that we serve.Read more
When so-called free marketeers try to defend bosses’ pay, they do the cause of free markets a huge disservice by encouraging people to equate free markets with what is in effect a rigged system whereby bosses enrich themselves with no obvious benefit to the rest of us.Read more
In a new book, Richard V Reeves worries that the top echelons of the U.S. middle class—those earning over $120,000—are separating from the rest of the country, and pulling up the drawbridge behind them. But Reeves needs to take another look at what’s going on: what about the people who produce but do not share in the surplus—or, for that matter, have any say in what happens to the surplus?Read more
The growth of inequality over decades is due to the ability of those at the top and those at the very top to capture a large portion of the growing surplus. But there has also been a change in the nature of that inequality in recent years, at least for those at the top—which is not due to escalating wage inequality, but to a boom in income from the ownership of stocks and bonds. They’ve now joined the ranks of the “coupon clippers,” who are able to use their accumulated wealth to get their share of the surplus.
The owners of capital at the very top are mirroring the structure of inequality last seen during the first Gilded Age.Read more
While Wall Street celebrates yet another stock market record—surpassing 20,000 on the Dow Jones industrial average—most Americans have little reason to cheer. That’s because they own very little stock and therefore aren’t sharing in the gains. A much better alternative for American workers would be to look toward a radically different model: enterprises that are owned and managed by their employees.Read more
Inequality in the United States is rising because people are paying more to work. When people pay more to work, the share of national income that goes to the top 0.1% increases. The solution does not lie in a global tax on wealth but rather in workers not paying to work.Read more