Sujato's Questions (1): is wealth just inequality in drag?

Interesting. Another thing I have learned! I guess we would normally see the modern situation as an advance, under the assumption that wealth can be earned, and so privilege is less entrenched. But it seems that this was overly-optimistic; Piketty has shown that wealth breeds wealth. Even a total fool and incompetent who repeatedly loses everything in bankruptcies can still prosper.

Perhaps we need a harder line between wealth and political power. What if we were to make a law banning any millionaire from holding public office? People with money have enough power already. Governments should balance that.

There was a recent article on this, but I’ve lost the link. Basically they showed, or claimed to show, that the cycles of inequality go back a long way, and can be measured in different societies. Essentially what happens is that the inequality gets too much to bear, then either you have a sensible elite who decide to share (eg. FDR) or a senseless elite how try to hang on (Tsarist Russia). With somewhat predictable outcomes.

If the sensibleness of the elite is the critical factor, we’re in big trouble right now!