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And, yes, I DO take it personally: "We are worse than old Europe"
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Friday, April 08, 2011

"We are worse than old Europe"

again, none of this is news, but it certainly bears repeating...

joseph stiglitz

The point is that there has been this growing inequality, not only in income, but actually the inequality of wealth is even much greater. There’s a shrinking of opportunity. It’s not just that the people at the top are getting richer. If they were getting richer because they were contributing more to our society and everybody else was doing well, that would be one thing. But actually, they’re gaining, and everybody else is decreasing. In fact, right now, it’s not just the bottom, but even the middle, the middle, the median income—half above, half below—are poorer today than they were more than a decade ago. So, all the growth that has occurred in our country over the last decade or more has gone to the upper one, two percent.

At the same time, there’s really shrinking opportunity. You know, we used to think of the United States as the land of opportunity—Horatio Alger, anybody could make it. And we used to think of ourselves as different from old Europe, as we used to call it. But the statistics show otherwise. Now, yes, we have some dramatic examples of people making it from the bottom to the top, middle to the top. But the statistics look at what happens on average: what is the chance of somebody at the bottom making it to the middle or the middle making it to the top? And right now, we are worse than old Europe. This is something dramatic that has happened over the last 30, 40 years.

yeah... and i'm sitting here in kabul, afghanistan, watching all this from the perspective of the incredible mess we've created for these good people...

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