Discusses two reasons to favor increased equality: first, from equalitarian values, and second, from the dangers of instability that inequality creates. The first section considers, and criticizes, some traditional defenses of inequality. The second section summarizes some recent writing on secular stagnation and the associated danger of bubbles and crashes. A point which does not seem to have been noticed, and that arises from the use of a Marxist definition of class, is that consumer lending from the capitalist to the working class creates an instability similar to the instability that arises from international lending when the lender and debtor countries are within a common currency union. Extends the discussion of equalitarian values, drawing on the literature of superfairness and related models. Following exposition in terms of numerical examples, a mathematical formalization is given.
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René Morissette, Xuelin Zhang and Marie Drolet
Dimitri B. Papadimitriou
Andrea Brandolini, Luigi Cannari, Giovanni D’Alessio and Ivan Faiella
Richard Hauser and Holger Stein
Edited by Edward N. Wolff
The contributors to this comprehensive book compile and analyse the latest data available on household wealth using, as case studies, the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Finland during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century. The authors show that in the US, trends are highlighted in terms of wealth holdings, among the low-income population, along with changes in wealth polarization, racial differences in wealth holdings, and the dynamics of portfolio choices. The consensus between the authors is that wealth inequality has generally risen among these OECD countries since the early 1980s, although Germany stands out as an exception. In the case of the US, it is also noted that wealth holdings have generally failed to improve among low-income families and that the racial wealth gap widened during the late 1980s.