Inequality has many sources, but political and technological dynamics are key factors.
You may have seen this video on Wealth Inequality in America, which has gone viral. I have shown the same data for years in charts and discussed it at great length: Made in U.S.A.: Wealth Inequality (July 15, 2011).
Here is a snapshot of total assets by category:
"Other assets" include Treasury and corporate bonds, favored holdings of pension funds and the wealthy due to their relative safety and guaranteed yield.
No surprise there: the top 1% owns roughly 40% of all stocks, and the top 10% own 81%.
I have long held that the greatest source of wealth inequality is political: those with great wealth have captured the for-sale machinery of governance, and "persuaded" the Central State to carve out quasi-monopolies and cartels that enable artificially high premiums. They also buy subsidies, exceptions and tax breaks for their income streams.
As technology improves, Mr Autor writes, a pattern emerges. Machines take over routine tasks like repeated number-crunching or the welding of car parts. Such jobs can be programmed into machines using detailed, specific instructions. Displaced human workers are then reassigned to do more improvisational or intuitive work. At airline check-in counters, say, computers are displacing employees from mundane tasks like printing boarding passes. That makes it easier for the humans to respond to unexpected problems like cancelled flights or changed itineraries. A faster pace of "jobsolescence" could create a huge number of niches like that: human workers needed to facilitate the automation taking over many routine tasks.
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Part II Roundtable discussion with CHS, Gordon T. Long and Bill Laggner-- Central Banks: Perception of Omnipotence (27 Minutes, 43 Slides)
Things are falling apart--that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify or understand. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:
1. Debt and financialization
2. Crony capitalism and the elimination of accountability
3. Diminishing returns
5. Technological, financial and demographic changes in our economy
Complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).
We are not powerless. Not accepting responsibility and being powerless are two sides of the same coin: once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.
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