Inequality

Issues on inequality are more and more discussed. These questions were not mentioned when I was a student in the 80’s. They à re now part of the economic discussion at the academic level and elsewhere. Angus Deaton and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) in the UK have launched a first report on inequality. It can be found here. Deaton gave a speech that explains all the diversity of the term inequality and its consequences.

The quote below is the last paragraph of his speech

“I think that people getting rich is a good thing, especially when it brings prosperity to others. But the other kind of getting rich, “taking” rather than “making,” rent-seeking rather than creating, enriching the few at the expense of the many, taking the free out of free markets, is making a mockery of democracy. In that world, inequality and misery are intimate companions.”

The speech from Angus Deaton launching the IFS report on inequality can be found here

Inequalities according to Angus Deaton

The political upheavals and populist incursions of the past few years owe much to widespread perceptions of inequality and economic injustice in advanced economies. While median wages have stagnated, incomes at the top have continued to rise, and there is growing evidence to suggest that the two phenomena are connected.

PRINCETON – Inequality has been named as a culprit in the populist incursions of 2016 and 2017. But what is inequality, and what role does it play in inhibiting or encouraging growth, or in undermining democracy? Does inequality kill, say, by driving people to suicide or to “deaths of despair”? Or is inequality a necessary evil that we must tolerate at certain levels?

These are questions I am often asked. But, truth be told, none of them is particularly helpful, answerable, or even well posed. Inequality is not so much a cause of economic, political, and social processes as a consequence. Some of these processes are good, some are bad, and some are very bad indeed. Only by sorting the good from the bad (and the very bad) can we understand inequality and what to do about it.
Moreover, inequality is not the same thing as unfairness

Read the post here on Project Syndicate