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Friday, 8 April 2011

Does inequality matter? 2nd Edition

According to Joseph Stiglitz an economy in which citizens are doing worse year after year  is not likely to do well in the long term for three reasons :

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. 

Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.

Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires “collective action”—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.
You can read the rest of the article via Vanity Fair.

2 comments:

  1. Inequality matters, and it matters in all corners of the globe. A study by two International Monetary Fund economists finds that widening income inequality can be harmful to economic growth. Read the authors' blog post:

    http://blog-imfdirect.imf.org/2011/04/08/inequality-and-growth/

    ReplyDelete
  2. iMFdirect,

    Thanks for that link. We shall share it more widely.

    ReplyDelete

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