Friday, April 25, 2014

Rising Inequality

Here is a link to a 5 minute video of Thomas Piketty's interview on his book 'Capital in the 21st Century.'

He states that income inequality is inherently not bad. [This reminded me of our discussion about the federal debt and whether we should be concerned about it.] His main argument is that governments need to intervene in order to reduce/eliminate the wideninng income inequality. He also talks about how politics is involved in the widening inequality.

What can governments do to ensure that the policies that will be developed uplifts the majority of the population out of poverty, especially when the rich have more influence in policy making and thus more likely to advocate for policies that serve their self-interest?


  1. It would be beneficial to create many different policies, and let the majority vote on these. This way the masses will have power in numbers, rather than the few having financial power making choices that everyone has to live with. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen ideally in the real world.

  2. In an ideal world we would have a government that ensures the bottom line isn't left out. However, it's hard to say how that would happen in today's society.

  3. Inequality will prevail in the capitalistic society. As the author of the book said inequality is not bad as it could be the source of competition and innovation, however extreme inequality is what we should be concerned with. I don't how can government effectively implement a direct policy which would address the issue, however, what government could do is use the wealth of the extreme earners to create an opportunity for the people on the lower end of income inequality line.

  4. I think that the possibility of clearing inequality is non-existent at this period. It will exist as long as the distribution of wealth is still present in society. The best course of action would be to analyze the framework of inequality and work from there.

  5. I'm really glad to see more people drawing attention to income inequality and the disappearing middle class. I think a lot of Americans feel that the U.S. is not a completely meritocratic nation but are somewhat confused about what exactly is going on that's leading to this inequality. I think the reason why this book is becoming so popular is because people are searching for the answer to these questions. From what I've heard, Piketty supplies a great deal of reason and intellectual clarity when discussing this issue of income inequality, and I think this is very valuable.

    With respect to what the government can do about this, I think a more progressive tax system would be a step in the right direction. Also more investment in education would be beneficial especially things that will raise financial literacy.