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Why the rich always stay rich (no matter what, no matter the cost)

José Gabriel Palma ()

Revista CEPAL, 2020

Abstract: This article returns to the Ricardian tradition of understanding income distribution as the outcome of an “antagonistic” conflict with a multiplicity of actors and struggles, where history, politics and institutions matter as much as economic “fundamentals”. Because this relates to the political sphere, there are no purely logical solutions to the conflict, but rather options in a scenario of multiple equilibria. In deregulated markets, this conflict favours the supremacy of unproductive rent (especially those of “inefficiency”), to the detriment of operating profits, affecting investment and productivity growth. Moreover, dysfunctional institutions have the “ability to persist”, thus transforming the domination into a “stationary process”: the unbalancing impacts of shocks have only limited lifespans. When, in democracy, the Latin American oligarchy limits change and weakens the State through Buchanian-style constitutional straitjackets, they redesign their distributional strategies and absorb elements of opposing ideologies to keep their own hegemonic.

Keywords: RIQUEZA; ELITE; CLASE ALTA; CONDICIONES ECONOMICAS; DISTRIBUCION DEL INGRESO; SISTEMAS ECONOMICOS; CONDICIONES POLITICAS; ESTUDIOS DE CASOS; WEALTH; ELITE; UPPER CLASS; ECONOMIC CONDITIONS; INCOME DISTRIBUTION; ECONOMIC SYSTEMS; POLITICAL CONDITIONS; CASE STUDIES (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 E12 N36 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-12-31
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