Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Inequality’

Locating Equality

Posted by hkarner - 6. August 2019

Harold James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation. A specialist on German economic history and on globalization, he is a co-author of the new book The Euro and The Battle of Ideas, and the author of The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization Cycle, Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm, and Making the European Monetary Union.

For years, wealth and income inequalities have been rising within industrialized countries, kicking off a broader debate about technology and globalization. But at the heart of the issue is a fundamental good that has been driving social and economic inequality for centuries: real estate.

MUNICH – Inequality is the leading political and economic issue of the current era, yet debates about it have long suffered from a degree of imprecision. For example, the standard measure of inequality, the Gini coefficient, reduces a country’s entire income distribution to a single number between zero and one, and is thus highly abstract. Similarly, while inequality is rising in many parts of the world, there is no simple correlation between that trend and social discontent or unrest. France is much less unequal than the United States, and yet it has similar or even greater levels of social polarization.

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Getting uneven: The Mittelstand’s corporate success comes at a cost

Posted by hkarner - 1. August 2019

Date: 31-07-2019
Source: The Economist

Germany’s rising current-account surplus has been accompanied by wider income inequality

THE MITTELSTAND, exports and thrift—all are matters of German national pride. Thanks to them Germany has run the world’s biggest current-account surplus since 2016, last year just shy of $300bn (7.3% of GDP). This sign that it saves more than it invests at home, and sells abroad more than it imports, has earned the ire of President Donald Trump, who would like thrifty Teutons to buy American.

The IMF has long wrung its hands at the savings glut. Earlier this month, in its annual report on global imbalances, it repeated a warning that Germany’s current-account surplus was “substantially” stronger than warranted by economic fundamentals, adding that the government should spend more to help bring it down. In a separate paper it presented evidence that the growing current-account surplus was accompanied by increasing income and wealth inequality (see chart). The link, it says, is high corporate profitability.

Around the turn of the millennium Germany’s exports took off, as rapidly growing emerging economies started to buy its high-value-added manufacturing goods in bulk. That, together with government policies encouraging wage restraint and stingier welfare benefits, helped push up profits. But that corporate success did nothing for poorer households because of a highly unequal distribution of wealth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The 99% Get a Bigger Raise

Posted by hkarner - 1. August 2019

Date: 31-07-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By The Editorial Board

New data show much faster growth in wages and incomes.

Political discourse nowadays is enough to depress anyone, and the media don’t help by ignoring good economic news. But buck up, Americans: Worker wages are growing much faster than previously reported.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Tuesday published its annual revisions to personal income data, and the surprise was the huge jump in disposable income and employee compensation.

The revisions show that employee compensation rose 4.5% in 2017 and 5% in 2018—some $4.4 billion and $87.1 billion more than previously reported. The trend has continued into 2019, with compensation increasing $378 billion or 3.4% in the first six months alone. Wages and salaries were revised upward to 5.3% from 3.6% in May year over year. And in June wages and salaries grew at an annual rate of 5.5%, which is a rocking 4.1% after adjusting for inflation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Exploitation Time Bomb

Posted by hkarner - 17. Juli 2019

Jayati Ghosh is Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, Executive Secretary of International Development Economics Associates, and a member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation.

Worsening economic inequality in recent years is largely the result of policy choices that reflect the political influence and lobbying power of the rich. There is now a self-reinforcing pattern of high profits, low investment, and rising inequality – posing a threat not only to economic growth, but also to democracy.

NEW DELHI – Since reducing inequality became an official goal of the international community, income disparities have widened. This trend, typically blamed on trade liberalization and technological advances that have weakened the bargaining power of labor vis-à-vis capital, has generated a political backlash in many countries, with voters blaming their economic plight on “others” rather than on national policies. And such sentiments of course merely aggravate social tensions without addressing the root causes of worsening inequality.

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If capitalism is broken, maybe it’s fixable

Posted by hkarner - 10. Juli 2019

Date: 10-07-2019
Source: The Economist

A book excerpt and interview with Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics and author of “People, Power and Profits”

FOR DECADES Joseph Stiglitz has argued that globalisation only works for a few, and government needs to reassert itself in terms of redistribution and regulation. Today the sources of his ire have grown more dire. Wealth inequality has become a hot-button political issue just as populists are on the march.

In Mr Sitglitz’s latest book, “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent,” he expands on his left-of-centre economic prescriptions. He believes that capitalism’s excesses can be tamed by the state providing a “public option” in areas like health care or mortgages when the market flounders.

As part of The Economist’s Open Future initiative, we conducted a short, written interview with Mr Stiglitz about his ideas. It is followed by an excerpt from his book, on what he calls “the transition to a postindustrial world.”

* * *

The Economist: You argue that right-wing populists aren’t wrong—capitalism is indeed rigged. How so? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Notes on Excessive Wealth Disorder

Posted by hkarner - 10. Juli 2019

Date: 09-07-2019
Source: The New York Times By Paul Krugman

How not to repeat the mistakes of 2011.

People waiting in line at a job fair in Bloomington, Minn., in 2011.

In a couple of days I’m going to be participating in an Economic Policy Institute conference on “excessive wealth disorder” — the problems and dangers created by extreme concentration of income and wealth at the top. I’ve been asked to give a short talk at the beginning of the conference, focusing on the political and policy distortions high inequality creates, and I’ve been trying to put my thoughts in order. So I thought I might as well write up those thoughts for broader dissemination.

While popular discourse has concentrated on the “1 percent,” what’s really at issue here is the role of the 0.1 percent, or maybe the 0.01 percent — the truly wealthy, not the “$400,000 a year working Wall Street stiff” memorably ridiculed in the movie Wall Street. This is a really tiny group of people, but one that exerts huge influence over policy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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‘Socialism for the rich’: the evils of bad economics

Posted by hkarner - 9. Juni 2019

Date: 08-06-2019
Source: The Guardian By Jonathan Aldred

The economic arguments adopted by Britain and the US in the 1980s led to vastly increased inequality – and gave the false impression that this outcome was not only inevitable, but good.

In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think there’s not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes, globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Inequality inevitably rises. Attempting to reduce inequality via redistributive taxation is likely to fail because the global elite can easily hide their money in tax havens. Insofar as increased taxation does hit the rich, it will deter wealth creation, so we all end up poorer.

One strange thing about these arguments, whatever their merits, is how they stand in stark contrast to the economic orthodoxy that existed from roughly 1945 until 1980, which held that rising inequality was not inevitable, and that various government policies could reduce it. What’s more, these policies appear to have been successful. Inequality fell in most countries from the 1940s to the 1970s. The inequality we see today is largely due to changes since 1980. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Mind the Productivity Gap to Reduce Inequality

Posted by hkarner - 8. Mai 2019

Date: 07-05-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Edward P. Lazear

It isn’t only an American problem, but the U.S. has lessons to learn from other wealthy countries.

How are American workers doing? Neither the middle class nor the poor have fared well in recent decades—but don’t blame tax cuts, a too-low minimum wage or the greed of the 1%. In rich countries around the world, the top half of the income distribution has been pulling away from the bottom half. Productivity growth among high-wage workers, driven by technological change, is the reason.

When measuring wage dispersion, economists frequently look at the 90/50 ratio—the wage of the worker at the 90th percentile divided by the wage of the worker at the median. In 2017 the 90th-percentile worker earned around $108,000, while the median worker earned around $45,000 a year—a ratio of 2.4. That’s an increase from 2.2 since 1997. Over the same period, the 50/10 ratio—the median wage divided by the wage at the 10th percentile—stayed flat, at 2.1. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Rich Can Fight Inequality, Too

Posted by hkarner - 24. März 2019

Kaushik Basu, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, is Professor of Economics at Cornell University and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Many wealthy people in the United States and elsewhere support the objective of curbing extreme economic inequality. They should not allow themselves to be silenced by right-wing accusations of hypocrisy.

NEW DELHI – When wealthy people espouse left-wing causes, such as redistribution of wealth, those on the right often label them hypocrites. “If you are so concerned about equality, why don’t you give up some of your own income first?” is the usual retort.

This response can have a powerful dampening effect. Most people do not like to think of themselves as hypocrites. So the wealthy are faced with a choice: either give away some of their assets and then campaign against inequality, or just keep quiet. Most prefer the second option.

This is unfortunate, because global inequality is reaching intolerable levels. What’s more, wealth tends to remain in families over time. Inequality is becoming dynastic, with some people born rich and vast numbers who are poor from the moment they appear on Earth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How the internet led to greater wage inequality

Posted by hkarner - 18. März 2019

Date: 16-03-2019
Source: The Economist: Bartleby

Training can help solve the problem

The great detective has summoned everyone to the library. “I was asked to identify the culprit behind the growing wave of wage inequality” he says. “I can reveal that the offender is there.” And the assembled suspects gasp as he points, not at a human, but at the computer in the corner.

In real life, few would be too be surprised at that verdict. Economists have long pointed to “skill-biased technological change” as one of the driving forces behind inequality. But demonstrating the influence of technology is important in an era when politicians routinely blame immigration or cut-price competition from imports instead. And the evidence that technology is indeed the perpetrator is getting stronger as academics look at its impact on inequality within individual firms, as well as across the broader economy.

A new working paper* by Christopher Poliquin of the University of California, Los Angeles, examined the effect on wages at Brazilian firms that adopted broadband between 2000 and 2009. The average employee experienced a 2.3% cumulative gain in real wages, relative to workers at firms without broadband. But managers at the firm gained 8-9% while executive directors enjoyed an 18-19% boost. Mr Poliquin thinks that the internet allowed skilled workers to be much more productive than before. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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