Inequality for Dummies

Bill Keller

(. . . ) A stratified society in which the bottom and top are mostly locked in place is not just morally offensive; it is unstable. Recessions are more frequent in such countries. A widely praised 2012 book, “Why Nations Fail,” argues that historically when the ruling elites have pulled up the ladder and kept newcomers from getting a foothold, their economies have suffocated and died. “The most pernicious fact of inequality is when it translates into political inequality,” said Daron Acemoglu, a co-author of the book and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist. “That means our democracy ceases to function because some people have so much money they command greater power.” The rich spend heavily on lobbyists and campaign donations to secure tax breaks and tariff advantages and bailouts that perpetuate their status. Not only does a dynamic economy stagnate, but the left-out citizenry becomes disillusioned and cynical. Sound familiar? (. . .) (*)

"The New York Times," December 23, 2013

(*) The reference, and the article in its entirety, is to the United States, but the paragraph sounds eerily familiar to those of us who continue to follow developments in Armenia, for instance ("Armeniaca").

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