Sunday, June 4, 2017

Moving The Goalpost - Haves and Have Nots Edition

Inequality is a common thread in our discussions of the post-Crisis world, but Richard Reeves at Brookings asks a demographic question about it: where does it begin? The Guardian reports on his new book, Dream Hoarders, that we aren't actually the 99%, but rather the 80% or so, as his research finds that increasingly opportunity is concentrated in the upper middle class, around the twentieth percentile of the income distribution.

Intuitively, this makes quite a bit of sense to me. Reeves argues that the 1%, even with all of their wealth, are not a large enough proportion of the population to crowd the lower classes out of opportunities such as higher education. Rather, it's incomes greater than or equal to $120,000 that have this effect through legacy programs in colleges, archaic zoning practices, and good old fashioned nepotism. He further criticizes the 99% slogan as obfuscating the problem, and allowing the other 19% to claim solidarity with the 80% they extract from.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't really though of the hoarding of opportunity in these terms before, but it makes perfect sense.

    It's hard enough as is to try to relocate the wealth from the top 1% to the bottom. It won't be any easier trying to do it to the top 20%.