Blog #55a – Why is there Inequality in the U.S.A.?
An Answer in 22 and 7 words.
Piketty showed, in 648 pages, that inequality is increasing long-term. It continued in the short term:
In 2009, figures were: average net worth, top 1%; $16,439,400 bottom 20% minus $14,000
Total Net Worth Top 1 percent Bottom 80 percent
1983 33.8% 18.7%
2010 35.4% 11.1
Why is this so?
The wrong answers:
1. Because the need for higher education and more skills is growing. Wrong because:
- Access to higher education and skill training is controlled by the 1%. They support education that helps them produce profit, do not support that which could lead to criticism and organization for higher pay.
- And higher pay and greater net worth are more related to parents’ incomes, s4ector of the economy, e.g. financial, education, social work, art, than to training and skills.
Because it is just, and criteria for justice in the distribution of income is that a person works harder, contribute more to society, is smarter, needs more, is justly entitled to have more. Wrong because:
- Sitting in an office is not harder work than working on an assembly line or collecting garbage, but is paid more because hedge fund managers have more power than factory workers or garbage collectors.
- And hedge fund managers do not contribute more to society than social workers or teachers, in fact do major damage.
- And there is no evidence the 1% have higher innate IQ’s than the 99%.
- And the 1% have more than they need, most of the 99% less.
- And the 1% have vastly more than the 99% to begin with.
The right answer, in 22 words.
The 1% are rich because they profit by keeping the 99% poorer. There is only one pie to divide, whatever its size; if the 1% take more, the rest will take proportionately less..
Why is this so, in a democracy, and so little understood?
The wrong answer:
1. Because the people wanted it that way. The wrong answer because:
2. Wealth provides political power also. And apparent prosperity co-opts opposition.
3. And the 1% control the means of mass communication, and bury the alternatives.And presumed experts of the 1% pontificate that trickle-down will work to the benefit of all.
4. And the 1% control the use of physical force, the use of incarceration, etc.
The right answer, in 7 words:
Political and economic democracy are too limited.
Blog #55b expands on this answer. Blog # 55c gives concrete examples.
 G. William Domhoff, at http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html