Saturday, May 31, 2014

Income Inequality

A recent idea in economic theory is the rise of Thomas Piketty and income inequality as explained in his best selling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

Basically, he says that the United States and European economies are moving back toward the time of the early 20th century, previous to the 1930's where most of the wealth was concentrated in the hands of very few people or the 1% as we have heard  before, especially during the 2012 presidential election.

The problem with his and most economists idea of wealth is that they count the money or property people own, not the way people live.

One thing that could be counted is the number of servants the person or family has.

In the early 20th century very few people, probably only the 1%,  had any servants at all, and the children of most of the 99% had to go to work to help support the family.

As late as the early 1930's most women washed their clothes on a washboard, cooked on a wood or coal fire,  walked wherever they went, and had their children work outside the home, in factories or for the wealthy.

Very few people went to a play, a concert, out to eat,  or traveled more than 25 miles from home. Movies were just beginning.

Looking at the United States and Europe now, instead of comparing dollars and property, compare how the people live.

Just what could the wealthy 1% do in the 1900's or even up to the 1930's that most people in these economies cannot do today?

The wealthy could go out to eat, but everyone in America can go out to eat today, that's one of the reasons the so called poor are overweight.

And servants? Everyone has more servants today than the wealthy 1% had in those olden times: washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves for instant cooking,

 We have cars. Few of them even had  horses.

Communications can't even be compared. Everyone can communicate to anyone they choose, anywhere.

 A ten year old child has all of the entertainers of the world at his fingertips in plays/movies and concerts/music, more than the wealthy 1% of the 1930's even could dream of.

No one in America will ever be as poor as our great grandparents of those times, and the wealthy of today cannot do anything more than most of the rest us can, today.

So even though the money may be concentrated, it can't do much for the wealthy that our science and social programs can't do for everyone else. Many of the poor don't even have to work as much as the wealthy 1% do today.

The whole idea is to make people think they are poor so they will support those who claim to be trying to redistribute the income of those who seem to have more. 

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