Saturday, June 6, 2015

It Getting Worse: Piketty's Mentor has Written a Book about Inequality

Economist magazine reports:
Sir Anthony Atkinson, a British economist... has now written his own book [Inequality: What Can Be Done?]. Sir Anthony, who is 70, has been working on inequality and poverty for more than four decades. He was an academic mentor to the young Mr Piketty and they worked together on building an historical database on top incomes. 
Sir Anthony is more radical than Mr Piketty; he calls for robust taxation of the rich whom he reckons have got off easily over the last generation. But that’s not all. He believes government should meddle in markets in all sorts of ways to influence the distribution of economic rewards...
Even the most egalitarian economists, such as Mr Piketty, are reluctant to recommend employment guarantees and wage controls. Sir Anthony is not. And if his arguments are not always wholly convincing, he may nonetheless succeed in shifting the debate.

From the blurb to the book:

 Inequality is one of our most urgent social problems. Curbed in the decades after World War II, it has recently returned with a vengeance. We all know the scale of the problem―talk about the 99% and the 1% is entrenched in public debate―but there has been little discussion of what we can do but despair. According to the distinguished economist Anthony Atkinson, however, we can do much more than skeptics imagine.

Atkinson has long been at the forefront of research on inequality, and brings his theoretical and practical experience to bear on its diverse problems. He presents a comprehensive set of policies that could bring about a genuine shift in the distribution of income in developed countries. The problem, Atkinson shows, is not simply that the rich are getting richer. We are also failing to tackle poverty, and the economy is rapidly changing to leave the majority of people behind. To reduce inequality, we have to go beyond placing new taxes on the wealthy to fund existing programs. We need fresh ideas. Atkinson thus recommends ambitious new policies in five areas: technology, employment, social security, the sharing of capital, and taxation. ‎ He defends these against the common arguments and excuses for inaction: that intervention will shrink the economy, that globalization makes action impossible, and that new policies cannot be afforded.

More than just a program for change, Atkinson’s book is a voice of hope and informed optimism about the possibilities for political action.
The important antidote to all this nonsense is here.


1 comment:

  1. If he is talking about taxing/redisttibuting the wealth of the crony classes, I'm all for it. But he is talking about the wealth of the productive classes. The wealth of the Clinton's, the John Corzines, the Pelosi's will be off limits.