Medium Income and Poverty in the United States

There is a basic belief in America that if you work hard, you can support yourself and your family. I have always argued that this is a myth for a great many of us. There is a simple proof: Median Household Income -- the income of every resident of that house that is over the …

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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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Aristotle on Oligarchy vs Democracy

Aristotle's Politics, ~350 BCE, Book 3: Oligarchy is when men of property have the government in their hands; democracy, the opposite, when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers The argument seems to show that, whether in oligarchies or in democracies, the number of the governing body, whether the greater number, …

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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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Plato on the Evils of a “Government Resting on a Valuation of Property”

Hi. Here is a very interesting and timely exchange between Socrates and Glaucon in Plato's The Republic, ~360 BCE, Book 8:   GLAUCON: And what manner of government do you term oligarchy? SOCRATES: A government resting on a valuation of property, in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it. GLAUCON: …

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