Wealth and Power in America: An Analysis of Social Class and Income Distribution

Wealth and Power in America: An Analysis of Social Class and Income Distribution

Wealth and Power in America: An Analysis of Social Class and Income Distribution

Wealth and Power in America: An Analysis of Social Class and Income Distribution

Synopsis

In this economic analysis, Kolko demonstrates that the distribution of wealth in the United States remains what it was in 1939 or even 1910. Pointing to unequal tax burdens, hidden income, unemployment, and poverty, he predicts greater failure in economic democracy in the future.

Excerpt

Most recent studies of American society assume that since the end of the Great Depression, in 1939, the nation's wealth has been redistributed and prosperity has been extended to the vast majority of the population. The authors of these works -- popular and academic alike -- are virtually unanimous in their conviction that our society has attained a substantial measure of social and economic democracy. They hail our economy for its triumphs in eliminating poverty and in creating the life of abundance for the many, not the few.

This assumption of economic equality has become the foundation of broad new theories in the social sciences, the common impression of millions of intelligent laymen -- and even the basis of specific political and social policies on taxes, aid to the elderly, poverty, and other areas of economic significance. But this assumption is nonetheless fallacious, for despite the obvious increase in prosperity since the abysmal years of the Great Depression, the basic distribution of income and wealth in the United States is essentially the same now as it was in 1939, or even 1910. Most low-income groups live substantially better today, but even though their real wages have mounted, their percentage of the national income has not changed.

Furthermore, the economic gains made by the low-income groups have been greatly exaggerated by social commentators. They have, in fact, been guilty of coloring their discus-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.