This week brings us to one of the core problems of widening inequality — the inevitability that concentrated income and wealth at the top comes with political power. This creates a vicious cycle by which the super-rich have enough power to get changes in the rules of the game — changes that make them even richer and more powerful, which enables them to make further changes. And so on.
The questions I’ll be addressing this week: How does economic power translate into political power? How does political power generate more economic power? How much of the phenomenon of widening inequality is due to this vicious cycle? Also: What’s the difference between “pre-distribution” and “redistribution” of income and wealth? In what ways are income and wealth now pre-distributed upward?
Recommended readings (just click on the link):
- Jane Mayer, "The Big Money Behind the Big Lie," The New Yorker, August 2, 2021
- Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics, American Political Science Association, March 2014
- Asher Schechter, “Why Argue With the Government When You Can Buy the Government?”: Q&A with Gary Reback, October 2016
- Steven M. Teles, “The Scourge of Upward Redistribution,” National Affairs, Fall 2015