Posts about inequality – income, wealth and mobility

Capitalism, Economy, Inequality

Elon Musk, $50 billion, and Financialization – from production to extraction

January 31, 2024

Much is being made of a Delaware court blocking Musk’s $50 billion compensation contract. See the reporting in the NYTimes: Elon Musk’s Tesla Pay Package Is Voided by Judge. The court found that the compensation was set by a Board of Directors of Tesla who are in Musk’s pocket. “The process leading to the approval of Musk’s compensation plan was deeply flawed. Musk had extensive ties with the persons tasked with negotiating on Tesla’s behalf. —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. https://courts.delaware.gov/Opinions/Download.aspx?id=359340
Capitalism, Economy, Inequality

Three charts that define the last 45 years in the US

January 2, 2024

Its the time of year for summations, usually for just the previous year. My selection of charts explains much of the past 45 years for the rich, middle-class, and poor in America. The Great Divide The dark blue line describes the growth in productivity. That is the dollar value of output per hour of labor. It has been rising fairly steadily for the entire post-WWII era. This is the result in improvements in technology and —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. Price, Carter C., and Kathryn A. Edwards. “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018.” RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
  2. All dollars are constant inflation-adjusted dollars - apples to apples
Capitalism, Delusion, Economy, Inequality, Racism/White Supremacy, Security State

My Year End Siege of Angers – the list –the rerun

December 29, 2023

Last year, at about this time,  I tapped away at the list below. In recent days I returned to the question of a new Siege of Angers. I came up with little new and found that last year’s Siege of Angers remained at the top of my mind. The one exception is the continuing siege of fascism spearheaded by Trump. We need to counter-attack vigorously. I don’t believe the Democrats are in a position to —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. Carter C. Price and Kathryn A. Edwards, “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018” (RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020), https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
  2. Please note that the income distribution in 1975 was not an ideal. There was significant inequality. From our current perspective, it seems idyllic compared to the transformations of the last 40 years.
  3. Price, Carter C., and Kathryn A. Edwards. “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018.” (RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020). https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
  4. For another day, we could look at the wealth inequalities that this has produced. Much worse!
  5. The classic origin text is Hayek, Friedrich A. von. The Road to Serfdom. G. Routledge, London, 1944.
  6. This movement was also championed in the UK and then forced on much of the developing world through US foreign policy, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank
  7. The “liberalism” of neoliberalism is not the liberalism we associate with FDR and the Democratic Party here in the US. The academics who coined this word were referring to 18th and 19th century European liberalism. A different beast.
  8. First Inaugural Address on January 20, 1981
  9. see Mariana Mazzucato, The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, Revised edition (New York, NY: PublicAffairs, 2015)
  10. Just search for "monopoly"(click on this link to conduct the search) on this website for many discussions of monopolization.
  11. https://www.openmarketsinstitute.org/learn/monopoly-by-the-numbers
  12. I have to credit my stepson Jonathan London, Professor of Global Political Economics at Leiden University in the Netherlands, with this observation.
  13. Lewis Powell, “Memorandum: Attack On American Free Enterprise System | Lewis F. Powell Jr. Papers | Washington and Lee University School of Law” (August 23, 1971), https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/powellmemo/.
  14. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying
  15. Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 3 (September 2014): 564–81, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592714001595.
Education, Inequality

The Rich Keep Winning – this time in education

November 19, 2023

A recent NYTimes article from 10.23.2023, “New SAT Data Highlights the Deep Inequality at the Heart of American Education,” 1 alerted me to a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Diversifying Society’s Leaders? The Determinants and Causal Effects of Admission to Highly Selective Private Colleges”2 The report begins with this note: Leadership positions in the United States are held disproportionately by graduates of a small number of highly selective private colleges. Less than —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. Claire Cain Miller and Francesca Paris, “New SAT Data Highlights the Deep Inequality at the Heart of American Education,” The New York Times, October 23, 2023, sec. The Upshot, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/10/23/upshot/sat-inequality.html.
  2. Raj Chetty, David Deming, and John Friedman, “Diversifying Society’s Leaders? The Determinants and Causal Effects of Admission to Highly Selective Private Colleges” (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2023), https://doi.org/10.3386/w31492.
Inequality, Politics

Trump in jail is not the end game

September 4, 2023

With four indictments and 91 charges of crimes committed one cannot help but be buoyed by the notion that Trump might spend his remaining years in jail. His crimes are so many and so manifestly obvious that this seems entirely just, even required. But MAGA America is not just going to melt away. There is not much obvious to be done to counter many components of MAGA world: the Christian fundamentalist radicals, the white supremacists, —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. Richard V Reeves, “America’s Zip Code Inequality,” Brookings Institute OP-ED, December 2015, https://www.brookings.edu/articles/americas-zip-code-inequality/.
  2. Click on this link to see more about monopolization
  3. Price, Carter C., and Kathryn A. Edwards. “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018.” RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
Capitalism, Economy, Inequality, Politics

$47 Trillion – the ripoff by the rich and corporations – in two charts – maybe a few more…..

August 22, 2023

I was already 31 years old when the rip-off of America began in 1979. I was busy, and the changes in American life were only occasionally to be noticed.  By the mid-1980s my management life started to feature the early signs of the financialization of the corporation. I knew of Milton Friedman’s famous dictum, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. Carter C. Price and Kathryn A. Edwards, “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018” (RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020), https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
  2. Please note that the income distribution in 1975 was not an ideal. There was significant inequality. From our current perspective, it seems idyllic compared to the transformations of the last 40 years.
  3. Price, Carter C., and Kathryn A. Edwards. “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018.” (RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020). https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
  4. For another day, we could look at the wealth inequalities that this has produced. Much worse!
  5. The classic origin text is Hayek, Friedrich A. von. The Road to Serfdom. G. Routledge, London, 1944.
  6. This movement was also championed in the UK and then forced on much of the developing world through US foreign policy, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank
  7. The “liberalism” of neoliberalism is not the liberalism we associate with FDR and the Democratic Party here in the US. The academics who coined this word were referring to 18th and 19th century European liberalism. A different beast.
  8. First Inaugural Address on January 20, 1981
  9. see Mariana Mazzucato, The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, Revised edition (New York, NY: PublicAffairs, 2015)
  10. Just search for "monopoly"(click on this link to conduct the search) on this website for many discussions of monopolization.
  11. https://www.openmarketsinstitute.org/learn/monopoly-by-the-numbers
  12. I have to credit my stepson Jonathan London, Professor of Global Political Economics at Leiden University in the Netherlands, with this observation.
  13. Lewis Powell, “Memorandum: Attack On American Free Enterprise System | Lewis F. Powell Jr. Papers | Washington and Lee University School of Law” (August 23, 1971), https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/powellmemo/.
  14. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying
  15. Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 3 (September 2014): 564–81, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592714001595.
Capitalism, Economy, Inequality, Politics

What is $47 trillion – 47,000,000,000,000 – a comparative exploration?

August 22, 2023

My previous post, “$47 Trillion – the ripoff by the rich and corporations – in two charts – maybe a few more…..” raises the question of exactly what 47,000,000,000,000 amounts to. There are so many “0”s! Let’s work with a one-dollar US paper bill. So how many dollar bills do we have to pile up to equal the height of the tallest building on Billionaire Row in Manhattan? This tower is 1,550 ft. tall (472 —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Economy, Education, Empire, Environment, Healthcare, Inequality, Politics, Racism/White Supremacy, Security State, Women

My Year End Siege of Angers – the list

January 1, 2023

Yesterday as I was taking a walk up and down Warren St. here in Hudson I realized that I had become actively angry about the state of the US and the world. I walked past hotels where a single room would set you back $400 for a night or you could go for the suite that is a mere $1300. This in a country where 32% of the people can’t pay an unexpected $400 bill.1 —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2022-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2021-dealing-with-unexpected-expenses.htm
  2. https://inequality.org/great-divide/updates-billionaire-pandemic/
  3. see the empirical study Martin Gilens, Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America (Princeton, N.J; New York: Princeton University Press ; Russell Sage Foundation, 2012).
  4. https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/figures/2021/BudgetaryCosts
  5. https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/figures/2021/WarDeathToll
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/26/nyregion/nyc-homeless-students.html
  7. https://www.justia.com/criminal/offenses/homicide/involuntary-manslaughter/
  8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/24/trumps-false-or-misleading-claims-total-30573-over-four-years/
  9. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/research/mental_health/
  10. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-195229/
  11. https://khn.org/news/article/hospices-private-equity-firms-end-of-life-care/ and https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/12/05/how-hospice-became-a-for-profit-hustle
Economy, Inequality, Politics

What’s Wrong With Inequality – the word?

November 26, 2021

Use of the word inequality hides the real issues.

Inequality, Politics, Racism/White Supremacy

Reparations and the System of White Supremacy

June 25, 2020

Monetary reparations for African Americans may accomplish very little to drive basic changes in the five pillars of the system of white supremacy: housing, education, healthcare, employment, and the judicial system.

Briefly Noted, Economy, Education, Inequality, Justice/Jails, Racism/White Supremacy, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

“How Structural Racism Works” – Tricia Rose and Samuel Rosen – recently noted

June 7, 2020

If you are struggling to get your head around how racism works you will probably find it helpful to have a general framework as a guide. This one hour lecture from 2017 features an overview by Brown University Professor Tricia Rose of the structure of racism and how it works in the US (approx. 29 minutes). Then follows a case study by Samuel Rosen, senior researcher, How Structural Racism Works Project at Brown, of how —>> read more –>>

Books, Economy, Education, Family, Healthcare, Inequality, Justice/Jails, Politics

Tightrope – Americans reaching for hope by Kristof and WuDunn – book review

May 1, 2020

Tightrope provides a well-written description of the American crisis through personal stories and hard data. Unfortunately it falls flat in its call for action.

Capitalism, Economy, Inequality, Politics

How the Rich and Big Corporations Feed Off Us During the Pandemic

May 1, 2020

The rich and corporations win even during a global pandemic.

Capitalism, Education, Family, Healthcare, Inequality

We’re number 40, no we’re number 39, no, number 61, yea, we’re number 1 in incarceration!!!

April 7, 2020

The decline of the US has become so marked over the last few decades that the stories and numbers no longer shock. From a country with an enormous middle class we have become a country with rich, super-rich and big corporations at the top while the vast majority, more than 80%,  are either homeless, very poor, poor, or a paycheck or two from poor. If you want an introduction to the state of our society, —>> read more –>>

Briefly Noted, Economy, Family, Inequality

Recently Noted – “Across America, working-class people are dying of despair”

January 17, 2020

Essay explores the grim reality of life in one small corner of America within the broader landscape of the bottom 90%.

Briefly Noted, Education, Inequality, Racism/White Supremacy

Recently Noted – busing, re-segregation, white supremacy

July 17, 2019

The recent controversies surrounding Joe Biden’s anti- school busing collaborations with racist politicians from the south has for the moment aroused new comment on segregated America. The New York Times published an excellent review of the history of school desegregation by Nikole Hannah-Jones, “It Was Never About Busing: Court-ordered desegregation worked. But white racism made it hard to accept.” As the article notes the yellow school bus has been in use for almost a hundred years. —>> read more –>>

Family, Inequality, Justice/Jails, Racism/White Supremacy, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Evicted – the book and the exhibition

April 3, 2019

Eviction from home is a regular feature of life for the poor and working class, more so for black and brown people. The civil justice system works with the same imbalance of power as the criminal system. Based on the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond.

Inequality, Women

The State of Women around the World – International Women’s Day 3/8/2019

March 8, 2019

Discrimination Against Women Continues – Lots of Outright Oppression Too In the NYTimes today is an article, “Why International Women’s Day Isn’t Going Away – For all the progress women have made, they are still a long way from true equality.”  by Iliana Magra. Here are a few data points from the article: 200 million That’s the minimum number of women and girls on the planet who have undergone female genital mutilation, the United Nations says. —>> read more –>>

Education, Healthcare, Inequality, Politics

Roosevelt’s 1944 Second Bill of Rights – a good starting point today

February 14, 2019

Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union called for a second bill of rights, an economic bill of rights, that resonates loudly today.

Briefly Noted, Inequality, Justice/Jails

Recently Noted – John Thompson and Justice – Prosecution With No Recourse

January 26, 2019

It is not often that one can make a judgement that is nearly absolute in its accuracy. Most things in life are complicated, complicated by circumstance, money, class, family, just plain errors in judgement, execution, and on… But, when it comes to the American justice system you come face to face with a system that is a gigantic fraud. This is as close to an absolute truth as one is ever likely find in our —>> read more –>>

Inequality, Politics

Inequality, Jeff Bezos, Amazon and Bernie Sanders

August 22, 2018

It is always useful to put a face to trends. The grotesque yawning extent of inequality is one of those trends that begs for the concrete. Knowing that a million seconds is 12 days while a billion seconds is 31 years gives some shape to the dimensions of inequality, it is still difficult to wrap one’s head around the scale of inequality that continues to surge.   Today this message from Bernie Sanders arrived in —>> read more –>>

Inequality, Politics, Racism/White Supremacy

Countering White Male Top 10% Affirmative Action

May 22, 2018

Countering White Male Top 10% Affirmative Action The continuing advances of elite white males1 requires action. They live and procreate in a closed loop of social, educational, and political advantages and protections. Wealth flows to them behind the uniformed doormen of the Upper East Side and the hedges of the Hamptons(or their equivalents in every major city). They justify their status with the politics of free market capitalism, the rugged risk-takers driving the economy forward. —>> read more –>>

Footnotes

  1. Here we are mainly focusing on the US, but much of this discussion can be applied to elite males everywhere.
  2. Chart from http://www.visualcapitalist.com/wealth-inequality-problem-one-chart/ accessed 5/20/2018
Briefly Noted, Economy, Family, Inequality

Recently Noted – A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America by Ed Pilkington

December 27, 2017

At a time when the Republicans are transferring income and wealth to the rich and corporations over 40 million Americans fall below the official poverty line.

Briefly Noted, Inequality

Recently Noted – about racism

May 12, 2017

An enormous entitlement in the tax code props up home prices — and overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and the upper middle class.

Economy, Inequality

Continuing Income Stagnation for Americans

August 4, 2012

For 99% of Americans the last forty years have been a period of income stagnation. As this chart from Mother Jones displays, virtually all of the productivity gains of the last forty years have ended up the hands of the super-rich. A new report from the National Employment Law Project, New Report: The Low-Wage Recovery and Growing Inequality (August 2012), details some of the changes in the economy that continue to drive this long-term hollowing —>> read more –>>

Briefly Noted, Inequality, Politics

Economic Inequality – Does It Matter?

May 9, 2012

It is fairly widely known that income and wealth inequality in the US is as high or higher than at any time except perhaps the Robber Baron period at the end of the 19th century. Lots of articles and books explain how this has come about over the last 30 years. In a recent NYTimes Magazine article, “The Purpose of Spectacular Wealth, According to a Spectacularly Wealthy Guy” by Adam Davidson, we are even offered an affirmative —>> read more –>>

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