Monday, March 10, 2014

Who Cares About Inequality?

Simon Wren-Lewis comments on a post that attempts to explain why there is not more public outrage about the rise in inequality in much of the Western world.  He quotes from an article by Justin Fox that broadens the discussion.  I like the Fox article that was on his Harvard Business Review blog.  However, I thought that another quote from the Fox article was even deeper:

"The business culture is triumphant. Not just for those in authority but for most of society, business is at the center, and that’s pretty much okay with everybody. It doesn’t feel remarkable to us for the same reason fish don’t notice water; we live in it. But step outside the moment and look at commerce’s role in the culture. It’s unprecedented."
One of the major points in the Fox article was that there has been a long tradition of outrage about the super-rich in the US.  Some of the outrage is documented in his article.  Therefore, there is nothing unusual about the attention that is now being given to this subject.  Some of the super-rich who believe that they are being victimized by something new in America fail to understand our history.  The real anomaly in America is that the business culture has become so dominant that we don't even notice it.  Corporations have purchased the naming rights on all of our major sports arenas;  Corporations sponsor all of the shows that we watch on TV;  Many corporate executives have rock star celebrity, and some, like Donald Trump, have their own TV shows. The high incomes of the executive class, and the hedge fund crowd have encouraged many of the graduates from our elite colleges to take their place in the new "Gilded Age".  We worship the life style of the rich and famous and many Americans expect that they might win the lottery.  It has taken 40 years to transform the culture of the America from the idealist culture that existed in a different era.  This will not be changed overnight.

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