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Wealth inequality: a tutorial

Wealth inequality: a tutorial

A few figures from this short film on wealth inequality:

The top one percent own half the country’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

The bottom 50 percent of Americans own only half a percent.

The average worker earns in a month what the CEO earns in an hour.


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John B. Chilton

The video is self contradictory in that it appeals for greater equality in wealth, but it omits assets that are meant to achieve greater equality — specifically, the value of social security and other old age benefits. And, arguably, omitting them makes the distribution look even more unequal because the greater are these future benefits the less you will save for yourself today.

I’ll grant that even with that were corrected the distribution would be skewed. No surprise — the 20:80 rule holds.

By omission it implies that other countries have more equal wealth distribution. Example, please.

There are other flaws to the original survey. People were asked what their ideal distribution would be if they were going to randomly assigned to one of the quintiles. That biases the answers towards equality. What if we framed it as cricket and ant?

Tom Sramek Jr

The question is WHY? Clearly if this has been a trend for the last 30 years, then both Republicans and Democrats are to blame, if there is any government to blame. Is the problem that most jobs now require a college degree? Is it that we have more lower paid workers? In other words, how much of this is government policy or tax policy and how much of it is due to a shift from an industrial to a post-industrial economy?

John B. Chilton

Not opposed to someone adding value and giving a vivid description of an important finding. But I didn’t understand why he didn’t name the economist at Harvard’s Business School. Or that the finding is two years old.

CWCID:

http://harvardmagazine.com/2011/11/what-we-know-about-wealth

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