Inequality Matters and Redistribution of Income Helps the Economy

Inequality matters, and contrary to much “conventional wisdom”, income redistribution can and does work in man countries.  In fact, the evidence is that it results in faster growing and more productive economies. (Hat tip to Mark Thoma for this summary.  I strongly urge readers to go to  Born Poor?, by: Corey Pein:     and read the full original profile of Bowles, or his Wikipedia profile.

Inequality and “Guard Labor”

This is from a profile of Samuel Bowles:

Born Poor?, by: Corey Pein: …Bowles’ most recent paper … examines how wealth is transferred from parents to children in hunter-gatherer societies versus agricultural societies. That might seem distant… But everyone can relate to his chosen subject: inequality. …

Bowles’ course was set in 1968, when he was an assistant professor at Harvard, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to his department looking for advice on the next stage of his social justice campaign.

“We were just elated that we could use economics, which we had so painstakingly learned, to answer questions that Dr. King thought were important,” Bowles tells SFR. “We were also extremely angry that we were totally unable to answer the questions on the basis of having gotten a PhD at Harvard.”

King’s assassination that year cut short the equality movement. …

Most economists in 1968 thought of inequality as “somebody else’s problem,” Bowles tells SFR. “I actually was denied the right to teach a graduate course in inequality because it was said not to be economics.” It wasn’t always thus.

“The founders of the discipline of economics, almost to a man—and they were only men—thought that the problem of distribution between classes—they used the word classes—was the key to understanding why nations grew or not,” Bowles says. What Bowles sees as the essence of his profession [is] problems of wealth distribution…

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