Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Unequal ; Ominous Change

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Unequal ; Ominous Change

Article excerpt

Why is America becoming more unequal, with the elite 1 percent grabbing an ever-bigger share of wealth?

Several reasons are offered by renowned economist Branko Milanovic in a new book, "Global Inequality, just released by Harvard University Press. First, he cites technology:

When the Industrial Revolution occurred, machine-operated factories allowed owners to acquire huge wealth and rise above average workers. Now the same pattern of technology-driven riches is happening in the new Information Age. Computers and robotics let business owners reap ever-bigger profits with fewer workers.

Next, he cites the principle that money begets money:

High-income executives save large portions of their earnings and invest them in ventures that produce returns, so they reap double wealth.

"This kind of inequality can become entrenched, with parents investing in their children's education, enabling them to get highly paid jobs while also inheriting large amounts of capital, Milanovic said. …

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