A Summary of “The Great Leveler” by Walter Scheidel

Walter Scheidel, an Austrian historian from Stanford University has taken time off from his main interest (the Romans) to write a powerful, and pretty depressing, book on inequality. His book is called The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the 21st Century. Its argument is: For thousands of …

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The 9.9% – The New American Aristocracy

From The Atlantic, June 2018 issue: Let’s talk first about money—even if money is only one part of what makes the new aristocrats special. There is a familiar story about rising inequality in the United States, and its stock characters are well known. The villains are the fossil-fueled plutocrat, the Wall Street fat cat, the …

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The Great Gatsby Curve

The Great Gatsby Curve illustrates the connection between concentration of wealth in one generation and the ability of those in the next generation to move up the economic ladder compared to their parents. The curve was introduced in a 2012 speech by chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger, an economist and a …

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United Way Study: 44% of Americans Cannot Make Ends Meet

Hi, In October 16, 2005, Citigroup came out with a brochure for investors called “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances”. The brochure was an honest assessment of the world where it explained that there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”... There are rich consumers, …

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Citigroup’s Plutonomy Memo: “There are rich consumers, and there are the rest”

In October 16, 2005, Citigroup came out with a brochure for investors called “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances” urging investors to put money into a “Plutonomy Basket" Here are my favorite excerpts: The World is dividing into two blocs - the Plutonomy and the rest. The U.S., UK, and Canada are the key Plutonomies - economies …

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Jefferson on the Inequality of Property

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison 28 Oct. 1785, Fontainebleau, Paris, France Papers 8:681--82 I set out yesterday morning to take a view of the place. For this purpose I shaped my course towards the highest of the mountains in sight, to the top of which was about a league. As soon as I had got …

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Aristotle on the Inequality of Property

Politics by Aristotle. Written in 350 BCE Book 2 Our purpose is to consider what form of political community is best of all for those who are most able to realize their ideal of life. We must therefore examine not only this but other constitutions, both such as actually exist in well-governed states, and any …

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