Monday, December 05, 2016

The rich are worried

The world is in dire straits. Inequality has put us of a 1917-style revolution which threatens to overthrow the global (economic) "liberal order":

The global economy has delivered too many of its benefits to the richest: in America, the proportion of after-tax income going to the top 1% doubled from 8% in 1979 to 17% in 2007. And in many ways the future looks worse. Productivity growth has slowed. Unless this can be changed, politics will inevitably become a struggle over dividing up the pie. Tech giants such as Google and Amazon enjoy market shares not seen since the late 19th century, the era of the robber barons.

You'd expect to read words like this in the pages of Jacobin. Instead, they're in The Economist, the official mouthpiece of the global 1%. The rich can see the writing on the wall, and they are worried.

But what do they propose as "solutions"? Strip away the rhetoric and the formulaic calls for deregulation, and there's some ugly suggestions of pandering to racists and bigots. But there's also at least some recognition that inequality is the central problem and that it needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, given the way the rich usually work, that's the bit that'll be ignored.