We are not alone….
The topic as well as anxiety and frustration about it occupy many minds. There are many sites and publications writing about inequality. Some written by known academics. Mostly economists but not only. Some of the names were mentioned in the previous blog – Piketty, Atkinson, Reich, Stigliz, Krugman to repeat and name some.
People from other fields include anthropologists such as David Graeber or geographers such as Danny Dorling. Both bring insights from other fields about causes and consequenses of extreme inequality. These two and their collaborators are recommended reads.
Another known name is epidiomologist Richard Wilkinson. Appreciated by this blog mainly for demonstrating consequences and less for perceived causes. Although more input from behavioral economics to the topic of inequaliy would be appreciated, the psycho-social causes assumed by Wilkinson do not seem to have robust data behind them ( van de Werfhorst, 2014).
They and many others from various fields contribute to our understanding of the situation and its costs and some of them offer various instruments, principles and ideas for solutions.
Aim and Purpose – what is it good for?
This blog intends to deal mainly with two main topics in order to reduce extreme extreme ineuqality – redudtion and prevention.
Under reduction we will identify various tools that can be used to reduce the extremes above and below. Than suggest how to use each of these to help fulfill the purpose. We’ll seek practical solutions. A tool could be an economic, political, social or other instrument that allows, preserves, changes or dictates a socioeconomic outcome.
As to prevention, assuming we reach a more favorable and socially acceptable outcome, the blog will also try to see how such a radical change in distribution could have happened in just a little over a generation. From the relatively egalitarian (compared to today, although many people at the time already found it etreme) mid 20th century 50s, 60s, 70s, to today’s extremes, just 30-40 years later.
Once we have an idea of how it could get that far, we may want to try and avoid a recurrence in future. That is of course for those people that agree the resulting currrent situation is untenable. If we know what mechanisms have been used to concentrate wealth and income and with them power, as well as possibly how, we can try to set checks in our system as preventive measures. We can maybe even try to think of and set some “trip wires” in our system that will alarm society when attempts are being made to redirect and concentrate power.
We may be able to use some of the same tools developed for reduction and turn those into watch dogs. From corrective to preventive.
Now that we know what ths is about, we can soon start getting into the matter.