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Approaching Equality

What Can Be Done About Wealth Inequality?

Roger A. McCain

Drawing on some recent research (especially that of Piketty and his associates) and on older ideas (particularly from Sir Arthur Lewis), Roger McCain proposes policies that, together, would aim to reverse the observed tendency towards the concentration of wealth in market economies, thus ‘approach equality.’ The shortcomings and dangers of rising wealth inequality are discussed, both from the point of view of increasing instability and of equalitarian values.
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Chapter 10: Planning from the bottom up

What Can Be Done About Wealth Inequality?

Roger A. McCain

Extract

Idealists of the left have often called for “planning from the bottom up.” This chapter discusses the failures of Soviet-type planning, but then discusses some examples of planned resource allocation processes within a limited sphere in predominantly market economies that seem to fit the description as “planning from the bottom up.” One instance is the grant-making process of the National Science Foundation. The chapter then speculates that a similar process might be adopted by a Social Endowment Fund at a stage that it might need to function in part as a venture capitalist. Drawing on the mathematical expression of equalitarian values in the appendix to Chapter 3, this appendix derives a scheme of distributionally weighted cost-benefit analysis and speculates as to how it might be implemented in practice.

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