Thursday, June 09, 2016

Hmm …

Why an expanding middle class is no guarantee of political freedom. (Hat tip, Dave a Lull.)

Rather than extending the middle class to include ever wider sections of society, the free market has worked to unravel bourgeois life. Rapidly rising levels of inequality are a part of the process. McClos­key seems to think that being concerned about the widened gulf between the rich and the rest is an expression of envy. But you don’t need to believe that economic equality is intrinsically desirable to recognise that extreme inequalities in income and wealth can be harmful. Money buys power and, when this happens on a system-wide scale, politics becomes a rigged auction. In the US, the inordinate increase of inequality of recent decades has produced a popular revolt against the political elites that has yet to run its course.
It seems to me there's a bit of equivocation going on here. What Gray calls a free market has lately become an insider's market, government and its regulators colluding with certain members of the financial and corporate sectors. Those political elites have been rightly perceived as governing in their own interests, not in the interests of the country as a whole.

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