The economic interests of the rich and the rest are at odds, writes Shamus Khan in
an op-ed for The New York Times. And since 1979, the interest of the rich have been served. After sketching in the economic background, Khan, an associate professor of sociology writes:
As a worldview, there’s something seductive in imagining that what’s good for me is good for everyone. Realizing my own advantage, then, doesn’t only feel good; it’s the moral thing to do. But sadly there isn’t much evidence that greed is good.
The first is that just as political alliances brought us out of our golden age, they can also return us to it. This will not be easy. The nation has often come together in response to shared threats, but a political project like this is tougher. Those who want the lion’s share of the national wealth will threaten to leave our shores. Let them. There are plenty of civic-minded members of the elite who recognize that absent major changes, our future is clear: more and more for the richest and a society where the mass of the citizenry idles. This is democracy in decline.
The second lesson is harder. We are not in this together. We need to get back to what made America great, when the many and not the few were winning. To do so we must stop conflating moral arguments with economic ones. Instead of operating under the fiction that we will all benefit from a proposed change in economic direction, let’s be honest. If a few of us are better off, then many are not. If many are better off, then the few will be constrained. Which world would you rather live in? To me the answer is obvious
Does the church have a role in working to narrow what the writer Timothy Noah has called the great divergence?
(Updated at 9:45 with a paper by Jared Bernstein on the effects of economic inequality on economic growth.)