Skip to comments.The Second Gilded Age: Has America Become an Oligarchy? (Barfwarnung)
Posted on 10/28/2011 11:28:34 PM PDT by Olog-hai
Inequality in America is greater than it has been in almost a century. Those fortunate enough to belong to the 1 percent, made up of the super-rich, stand on one side of the divide; the remaining 99 percent on the other. Even for a country that has always accepted opposite extremes as part of its identity, the chasm has simply grown too vast. Those who succeed in the US are congratulated rather than berated. Resenting other people's wealth is viewed as supporting class struggle, which is something very frowned upon.
Still, statistics indicate that the growing disparity is genuinely overwhelming. In fact, the 400 wealthiest Americans now own more than the "lower" 150 million Americans put together.
Nearly two-thirds of net private assets are concentrated in the hands of 5 percent of Americans. In comparison, the upper 5 percent of Germany hold less than half of net assets. In 2009 alone, at the same time as the US was being convulsed by mass layoffs, the number of millionaires in the country skyrocketed. Indeed, if you look at the reports it compiles on every country in the world, even the CIA has concluded that wealth disparity is greater in the US than in Tunisia or Egypt.
Economists and political scientists believe the US has entered a new Gilded Age, a period of systematic inequality dominated by a new class of super-rich. The only difference is that, this time around, the super-rich are hedge fund managers and financial magnates instead of oil and rail barons. The academics fear this change could have serious consequences for the country's economic future. As they see it, this extreme inequality threatens to dramatically slow growth in the world's largest economy.
(Excerpt) Read more at spiegel.de ...
Lets give people some facts. The measure of income inequality is the Gini coeffecient. If all the income is owned by one person, and noone else has any income, the Gini coefficient is 1.0, and if everyone has the exact same income the Gini coefficient is Zero.
Since 1994 the US Gini Coefficient has been, for individuals, about 0.5, with small variations from 0.499 all the way to 0.512
by the way, the political calculations site is a great resource. The first time I found it, I was able to read it for about 4 hours a day for about 3 days. I am an engineer, so tend to be very at home with numbers and graphs.
And ok, the Gini Coefficient for the US from 1994 to 2010 gets all the way down to 0.494 in the graph. Wow.
I wonder what the figure would be if you factored out Soros and his 25B.
It ain’t the Gilded Age... it’s the Gelded Age.
I did not read the entire article. If someone is asking the question is there to wide of a gap between the rich and the poor the answer is yes. The conservative business model says There should not be a multi-million-dollar divide between the highest paid and lowest paid company employee. Capitalism is the best market system. But by design it consolidates money at the top. If that consolidation is excessive it creates disparity that leads to social unrest.
If you factor in celebrity salaries and the disparity between the rich and poor in California, I would certainly have to say that yes, there is a disparity. The Gilded Age in that area has certainly been reborn and then there is the dot com billionaires and a lot of the other people who made it rich, but ended up not really doing anything other than being in the right place at the right time.
“In 2009 alone, at the same time as the US was being convulsed by mass layoffs, the number of millionaires in the country skyrocketed.”
That is because jobs are being replaced by those who are currently innovating and the innovaters are yet again making money off of their creations. No different than Facebook doing better than MySpace because Facebook offers more and is more polished.
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods"
In the end of your life... sucks to be you.
I'm trying to figure out what impact this has in real-world terms. I mean, what does this MEAN for Germany? Is it somehow more free, has a better system, and the poor are less poor?
I ask because it seems like when you're talking about whether the top five percent has 'less than half the assets' or the top five has 2/3, it really doesn't seem much of a difference in real world terms for the rest of us.
And owing to inflation, a million ain’t what it used to be.
Soon, even the poor will be “millionaires”.
“ Inequality in America is greater than it has been in almost a century. Those fortunate enough to belong to the 1 percent, made up of the super-rich, stand on one side of the divide; the remaining 99 percent on the other.”
But notice who, exactly, is being complained about and who is exempted from this complaint.
Even though Forbes, in their Celebrity 100 list for 2010 lists Oprah Winfrey’s income at 315 million, nobody is complaining that her wealth is part of “inequity”. Forbes ranked Beyonce Knowles at #2 in this list, with an income of $87 million.
The band U2 came in at #7 with 130 million. Jay-Z is number #15 at $63 million.
Is there something wrong that such talented people can earn so much worldwide income? No, actually, the leftist complaint is inverted. Instead of being a problem in our society, it is something to be celebrated.
The real problem is how few of those who complain about “income inequality” take full advantage of all the free ways to vastly improve their own ability to be similarly successful.
One case in point: while she is not American, J.K. Rowling wrote the first of her Harry Potter books while tending to her child and camping out in coffee houses of Edinburgh. Don’t like to write? The entire undergraduate coursework of a number of major universities is available online for free, if someone would only spend the time.
It appears that time is the one thing that #OWS have in abundance, along with writers for swanky leftist European magazines.
At the moment the only people who will survive are the ones who know how to do something useful, not even as computer programmers. I think that we are close to another complete collapse and restructuring of society.
I don’t think I quite understand your post. I am stating a conservative position, not the Occupy line.
I’d really appreciate you explaining. Perhaps you posted to the wrong person?
The question is, have we created such a disparity that we have picked off the middle class, wiped out the middle class that has been the economic driver of the American economy, made the country the great place that it is (or was depending on the point of view one takes).
There can’t be an examination of this subject without considering what the real percentages are.
Is it really 99% to 1%?
Anybody have the numbers on that?
but is NOT happening....
"skills" are not being rewarded...the political class has seen to it that the unqualified, the underqualified, the "selected" are sought after, NOT the most qualified...
and the other thing that capitalism presupposed is that the market is brutal to everyone...not just American goods and services...but to everyone's ....that laws are not enacted to put foreigners at huge advantages....
crony capitalism is what we have now...
and with that, YES the rich do amass great wealth at the expense of the legitimate workers...
that is ecomonics...period...
a big mistake is thinking that because some extremely lucky few...like Oprah....who btw has no significant talent except she was a black woman at the right time....that just anybody can do it...
I love it when I get a thoughtful reply like yours on here. That is how FR is supposed to be, the way it used to be all the time. Thanks.
“The question is, have we created such a disparity that we have picked off the middle class, “
Just like during the Gilded Age. to survive and regenerate, the middle class will have to learn solid skills and then live according to their means. Businesses that used to employ laborers at a solid wage/salary to fund a lifestyle have been used as bank accoutns for lawsuits and a lot of people have forced companies to pay for vanity procedures. Back to learning the value of the dollar through hard work, not through a degree or a cushy position in an office. Back to working if you have to and time for people to stop living like the leisure class if they can’t afford to.