EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

What Drives Inequality?

Jon Wisman ()

No 2015-09, Working Papers from American University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Over the past 40 years, inequality has exploded in the U.S. and significantly increased in virtually all nations. Why? The current debate typically identifies the causes as economic, due to some combination of technological change, globalization, inadequate education, demographics, and most recently, Piketty’s claim that it is the rate of return on capital exceeding the growth rate. But to the extent true, these are proximate causes. They all take place within a political framework in which they could in principle be neutralized. Indeed, this mistake is itself political. It masks the true cause of inequality and presents it as if natural, due to the forces of progress, just as in pre-modern times it was the will of gods. By examining three broad distributional changes in modern times, this article demonstrates the dynamics by which inequality is a political phenomenon through and through. It places special emphasis on the role played by ideology – politics’ most powerful instrument – in making inequality appear as necessary.

Keywords: political power; distribution; legitimation; ideology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 B00 Z18 N3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-pbe and nep-pke
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://doi.org/10.17606/9m1b-td88 First version, 2015 (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:amu:wpaper:2015-09

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers from American University, Department of Economics
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Thomas Meal ().

 
Page updated 2021-05-12
Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2015-09