income inequality

income inequality


Economic Inequality and Political Polarization

inequality November 3rd, 2018

The following is a brief piece written by New York Times columnist, David Leonhardt. In it, he asks the question, Race, class or both? He is referring to whether the 2016 election was in large part won by Donald Trump due to Americans’ racism (the white people, that is) or economic insecurity/economic inequality. It is an interesting summary, and it is recommended that the interested reader follow the links herein to the New York Times to read more. I also include a dozen interesting quotes about economics, capitalism, economic justice, and income inequality by scholar and author Steven Pearlstein.

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Is Capitalism a Sustainable Economic System?

is capitalism a sustainable economic system? August 23rd, 2018

Is capitalism a sustainable economic system? There are many facts, opinions, and even biases held by countless people. Everyone has heard “Socialism is _______” or “The problem with capitalism is ___________.” This is certainly a question that interests me. I tend to come down on the side of capitalism where it meets democratic socialism. That is, the government (comprised of responsible and accountable citizens) owns some public resources, and individuals and to some degree corporations own the remainder. The amount of money that one can make from profit-seeking ventures is limited by a very progressive taxation scheme. One of the sharpest minds is the liberal author, professor, and former Secretary of Labor, Robert S. Reich, and he wrote a book, Saving Capitalism, that helps to answer the critical and timely questions, Is capitalism a sustainable economic system? Is capitalism just and fair? What can socialism and other approaches offer capitalism to help preserve the planet, care for people, and yet allow profit-making? This blog features Robert Reich quotes from his very readable book, Saving Capitalism.

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Crony Capitalism: Even Worse Than Raw Capitalism

crony capitalism August 15th, 2018

It’s not a novel concept to compare America to Rome, nor is it to see connections between an ailing, sclerotic, corrupt Roman Empire and our own republic. One thing they share is moral decay, foolish financial/military policies, and perhaps above all, political corruption. I am talking about the effect of money on governance. In modern parlance, crony capitalism. It is a thorn in America’s side because it hampers a democratic and horizontal diffusion of capital and resources amongst the tens of millions of small businesses. Worse than unregulated capitalism, crony capitalism claws at the beliefs that America is the land of opportunity and that we’re all in this together, making them myth. Indeed, as Nobel laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz maintains, “One of the darkest sides to the market economy that came to light was the large and growing inequality that has left the American social fabric, and the country’s economic stability, fraying at the edges: the rich are getting richer while the rest were facing hardships that seemed inconsonant with the American dream.”

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Bezos Exemplifies Outsize Power and Influence

power and influence July 25th, 2018

As Jake Johnson, the very capable staff writer for the brilliant site www.CommonDreams.org points out, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com is off-the-charts wealthy. But he doesn’t just want to vacation and buy booze; he bought The Washington Post. He also is down there with Walmart as far as employee pay and level of satisfaction. Here is a brief look at the man, the myth, the shapeshifter, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the known universe. We are talking about uber-capitalism: outsize power and influence, self-concern and elitism. In the 19th century, political commentators and cartoonists would have depicted Bezos as a capitalistic “fat cat” and railed against his motives and apparent greed.

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Income Inequality: Right or Wrong?

income inequality May 1st, 2018

Thomas Piketty, a French economist, made a big splash in 2014 with his book Capital in the 21st Century. It piqued my interest in regard to social justice. Specifically, social mobility, status quo, and economic freedom. I believe that America has a serious issue with wealth inequality, and income inequality, and has for quite some time. We are now less of a socially-mobile society than many countries in Europe are. Cross that with some of the standard of living/life satisfaction measures in which Europe and a few other countries do well, and you have a fairly grim assessment of the United States. Here are some thoughts on income inequality by Thomas Piketty.

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Myths of America’s Capitalistic System

myths of America's capitalistic system November 11th, 2017

Joseph Stiglitz is l professor of economics at Columbia University. He wrote many books, and the one I recently read was The Price of Inequality. Really a tour de force. He has a conscience, is extremely qualified (he was with the World Bank until they fired him, has a Nobel Prize, etc.), and writes in a manner that is easily grasped. Here are some myths he brings up in his powerful and well-researched book on inequality. They are myths of America’s capitalistic system – perhaps a better word is our crony-capitalistic system. If free market capitalism is problematic, crony capitalism downright stinks.

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Robert Reich: Lion of the Left

Robert Reich October 13th, 2017

Robert Reich, Ph.D. is an economist, Rhodes Scholar, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, and professor of political science or economics at UC Berkeley. He has a good heart, and has been a tireless advocate for fiscal sanity, political fairness, economic justice, and political progressivism for almost 40 years. A small man (like 4’10” or so) he is diminutive. He was beaten up quite a bit as a child. He, however, has the heart of a lion. He used to be a centrist, and in the Ford Administration. He has seen the goalposts move, as it were, in the last 40 years, and sees the inequality and the insecurity. His goal is a more progressive, humane, fair, just, egalitarian, meritorious system – one that, frankly, used to exist in this country. The following are some of his thoughts on economics, politics, social justice, the middle class, the rich, and the like. 

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Greed: Wall Street’s Financial Fraud

greed October 11th, 2017

This blog is about skepticism toward America’s financial services sector: Wall Street, big banks, hedge funds, etc., as well as the lobbyists, politicians, and professors who collude and conspire with the industry’s many bad actors. I’m talking about capitalism and power run amok. Greed. I just watched Inside Job,  by remarkable filmmaker Charles Ferguson. America has such a complex financial and political landscape, I want to criticize, but it is hard to know where to begin. I will crack my knuckles and give you what I’ve got.

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Income and Wealth Inequality

April 7th, 2017

To borrow a phrase from Dickens, America might be called “a tale of two cities,” and more now than ever. The time we are living in is reminiscent of the time of robber barons, tycoons, bought politicians, and virtual indentured servitude of the Gilded Age back in the 1920s. Nowadays, the rich are getting richer

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