“Stiglitz: wealth concentration will be America’s downfall”

There’s a growing movement to “do something” about the massive inequality of wealth in the US, but no one seems to know what to do, or even what can be done. The obscenely wealthy essentially control the politicians (if you don’t believe me, just look at the rhetoric of “tax cuts for the wealthy!” that no politician dares to stand against, despite the fact that the US is flat broke and rapidly digging itself toward China in more ways than one). And the politicians make the laws that are the only possible thing that could peaceably deal with the dangerous concentration of wealth.

I’ve thought about it quite a bit lately myself, and I’m sorry to say that I see few resolutions that don’t end in some level of bloodshed. Usually a lot of it. I hope that that’s just my lack of imagination.


  1. Yeah, we’ll either turn into a third-world country, thanks to the short-sighted ultra-wealthy, or there will be problems of that variety. Either way doesn’t look good to me.

  2. I can’t predict what will happen, but I don’t think we’ll turn into a third-world country, because our technology level is so high that I don’t think it could happen without a continent-wide natural disaster on an unprecedented scale (such as a large meteor strike).

  3. And I don’t think the ultra-wealthy are short-sighted. They wouldn’t be able to amass or hold such wealth if they were. I just think they don’t care much about everyone else, and that their wealth will ensure that they aren’t inconvenienced by any problems their meddling causes. Unfortunately, they’re probably right.

  4. I didn’t mean a third-world country ah-lah subsaharan Africa, but more like a third world country where there’s great inequalities between rich and poor and a lower standard of living compared to wealthier countries. Think of the third world countries that have large middle classes, and relatively little starvation, and some high-tech. Except India, China, and Latin America are on the upswing right now, and we are not. The lower life expectancy in the US compared to most of the rest of the Western world is a symptom I think.

    • It’s the “lower standard of living” that I meant. I think our technology level is high enough that we won’t see that kind of problem.

      The lower life expectancy in the US is, I suspect, due to a combination of poor eating habits (think McDonalds and its ilk) and a lack of universal health care. But I have no hard data to base that on, so I could be completely full of BS.

      • I remember reading an article in Scientific American published during the Reagan era that showed that every time they cut the AFDC and food stamp budgets, infant mortality went up a notch. Higher poverty levels are probably a big part of the lower life expectancy figures. (Poor eating habits are probably a contributing factor, and tie in to poverty.)

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