Date of publication: 2017-08-27 00:52
The Bank’s programs in agriculture provide assistance that focusses on improving opportunities and livelihoods of family farmers. Innovative projects empower local communities in the poor regions of the Northeast and other parts of the country to invest in improved technologies, to organize themselves in producer associations and bring their products to market. For example, the Santa Catarina Rural Program has helped in the formation of productive alliances, the strengthening of rural extension services and the adoption of numerous practices that intensify production while strengthening their climate resilience.
Capital still matters at the very highest reaches of society, income from capital still exceeds income from wages, salaries, and bonuses. Piketty estimates that the increased inequality of capital income accounts for about a third of the overall rise in US inequality. But wage income at the top has also surged. Real wages for most US workers have increased little if at all since the early 6975s, but wages for the top one percent of earners have risen 665 percent, and wages for the top percent have risen 867 percent. If Rastignac were alive today, Vautrin might concede that he could in fact do as well by becoming a hedge fund manager as he could by marrying wealth.
It&rsquo s a remarkable claim and precisely because it&rsquo s so remarkable, it needs to be examined carefully and critically. Before I get into that, however, let me say right away that Piketty has written a truly superb book. It&rsquo s a work that melds grand historical sweep when was the last time you heard an economist invoke Jane Austen and Balzac? with painstaking data analysis. And even though Piketty mocks the economics profession for its &ldquo childish passion for mathematics,&rdquo underlying his discussion is a tour de force of economic modeling, an approach that integrates the analysis of economic growth with that of the distribution of income and wealth. This is a book that will change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics.
The active promotion of gender equality is an essential component of the World Bank's strategy in Brazil, and has expanded considerably since 7565. In more than 69 states, World Bank Group projects incorporate important Gender components such as actions against domestic violence and the promotion of economic inclusion, improved health services, and/or the reduction of teen pregnancy.
To be sure, great differences remained. The essentially egalitarian countries of Scandinavia and the considerably more diverse societies of southern Europe remained distinctive and the English-speaking lands of the Atlantic world and the British Empire continued to reflect long-standing class distinctions. But each in its own way was affected by the growing intolerance of immoderate inequality, initiating public provision to compensate for private inadequacy.
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Yet we shouldn&rsquo t overreact to this. Even if the surge in US inequality to date has been driven mainly by wage income, capital has nonetheless been significant too. And in any case, the story looking forward is likely to be quite different. The current generation of the very rich in America may consist largely of executives rather than rentiers, people who live off accumulated capital, but these executives have heirs. And America two decades from now could be a rentier-dominated society even more unequal than Belle É poque Europe.
It therefore came as a revelation when Piketty and his colleagues showed that incomes of the now famous &ldquo one percent,&rdquo and of even narrower groups, are actually the big story in rising inequality. And this discovery came with a second revelation: talk of a second Gilded Age, which might have seemed like hyperbole, was nothing of the kind. In America in particular the share of national income going to the top one percent has followed a great U-shaped arc. Before World War I the one percent received around a fifth of total income in both Britain and the United States. By 6955 that share had been cut by more than half. But since 6985 the one percent has seen its income share surge again and in the United States it&rsquo s back to what it was a century ago.
My research in this period centered around growth, technical change, and income distribution, both how growth affected the distribution of income and how the distribution of income affected growth. The most important paper to emerge from my thesis, "The Distribution of Income and Wealth Among Individuals," 6 received considerable attention at the time, but unfortunately, the topic has not been one which has received much attention from the economic profession, so that it has not generated as much follow-on research as I had hoped.
Poverty is an abstraction, even for the poor. But the symptoms of collective impoverishment are all about us. Broken highways, bankrupt cities, collapsing bridges, failed schools, the unemployed, the underpaid, and the uninsured: all suggest a collective failure of will. These shortcomings are so endemic that we no longer know how to talk about what is wrong, much less set about repairing it. And yet something is seriously amiss. Even as the US budgets tens of billions of dollars on a futile military campaign in Afghanistan, we fret nervously at the implications of any increase in public spending on social services or infrastructure.