The price of income distribution

We have all had our blinders on and carried our focus for Tuesday’s election (with tragic exception to Sandy and, hopefully, its indications concerning climate change). But before we resume full throttle in election reports with an international perspective next week, we offer a quick break from your Obamney monopolized newsfeed and towards the issue of income distribution.

In his review of Joseph E. Stiglitz’s book The Price of Inequality, Thomas B. Edsall cites culpability with both neoliberal and free market strategies, both democratic and republican parties. According to Edsall, the fundamental issue is

not only that inequality violates moral issues, but it also interacts with a money-driven political system to grant excessive power to the most affluent.

With the all-too-fine line between financial power and its influence on policy and elected officials, the affluent aim to perpetuate their position and status at the top with political demands to protect their ability to generate their money (by successfully fighting off tax hikes). Stiglitz and Edsall reveal the result: a far less efficient economic system that has discounted the contributions of (and even the opportunities to contribute by) those at the bottom of the system. As our income distribution page implies, there is a relation to the US’ position in income distribution (the GINI index) and our positions in child income poverty, Index of Health and Social Problems, and the Human Poverty Index, all in which we rank at the bottom among the 12 advanced democracies studied.

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