The Mythology and Mathematics of Income Disparity

By Granddad – Re-Blogged From iPatriot

There are those who tell us that all of the benefits of tax cuts and the wealth created by our booming economy goes to the very rich; that the “one percent” has taken it all, leaving the middle class and poor behind. We are told that disparity of income and wealth, the distance between rich and poor, is at record levels, and this is a threat to our democracy. We are also often told that income disparity results from the greed and avarice inherent in a capitalist society.

This mythology is difficult to reconcile with history or arithmetic. In real dollars, the four wealthiest men early in the twentieth century, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Ford were as rich as any today. Meanwhile, only the very rich had indoor plumbing and carriages, labor had no union bargaining power, consumers had no protection against monopolies, farmers had no electricity or tractors and the government proffered no welfare benefits or other income transfers. In earlier times kings and queens and their retinue controlled all wealth.  In ancient Rome, there were only landed patricians, plebes, and slaves. The patricians, one hundred families, less than two percent of the population ruled the Roman Empire and controlled virtually all the wealth for over two centuries. In the Roman Republic, fifteen percent of the population was enslaved.

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