Oligarchy, American Style

7 de Novembro de 2011 § 1 Comentário

We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only.

The budget office laid out some of that stark reality in a recent report, which documented a sharp decline in the share of total income going to lower- and middle-income Americans. We still like to think of ourselves as a middle-class country. But with the bottom 80 percent of households now receiving less than half of total income, that’s a vision increasingly at odds with reality.

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But why does this growing concentration of income and wealth in a few hands matter? Part of the answer is that rising inequality has meant a nation in which most families don’t share fully in economic growth. Another part of the answer is that once you realize just how much richer the rich have become, the argument that higher taxes on high incomes should be part of any long-run budget deal becomes a lot more compelling.

The larger answer, however, is that extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy. Can anyone seriously deny that our political system is being warped by the influence of big money, and that the warping is getting worse as the wealth of a few grows ever larger?

Some pundits are still trying to dismiss concerns about rising inequality as somehow foolish. But the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake.

Paul Krugman – Oligarchy, American Style

 

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§ One Response to Oligarchy, American Style

  • Diogo Gonçalves diz:

    Olá Manel,
    Não sei se conheces este senhor – Richard Wilkinson – que lançou um livro – The Spirit Level – que demonstra o impacto incrivelmente negativo da inequidade económica na saúde e no bem-estar social de um país.

    Portugal, sem surpresa, é o 2º país mais desigual de todos os países desenvolvidos – apenas ultrapassado pelos EUA – de acordo com os estudos deste autor: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html.
    Um abraço, Diogo

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