From Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park: Lessons in Inequality
Posted on Oct 16, 2011
Nicholas Kristof writes in The New York Times that, although there are parallels between the revolutionary protests in Egypt and the occupation of Wall Street, Americans actually experience worse income inequality than Egyptians.
Kristof explains that income inequality—“The top 1 percent of Americans possess more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent”—isn’t just unfair, it’s bad economics. —PZS
Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times:
Economists used to believe that we had to hold our noses and put up with high inequality as the price of robust growth. But more recent research suggests the opposite: inequality not only stinks, but also damages economies.
In his important new book, “The Darwin Economy,” Robert H. Frank of Cornell University cites a study showing that among 65 industrial nations, the more unequal ones experience slower growth on average. Likewise, individual countries grow more rapidly in periods when incomes are more equal, and slow down when incomes are skewed.
That’s certainly true of the United States. We enjoyed considerable equality from the 1940s through the 1970s, and growth was strong. Since then inequality has surged, and growth has slowed.
Cory Doctorow (CC-BY-SA)
The message on a food truck window in New York: “From Tahrir Square Egypt to Liberty park New York.”