Tuesday, 02 December 2008
As intense protests spawned by Occupy Wall Street continue to grow, it is worth asking: Why now? The answer is not obvious. After all, severe income and wealth inequality have long plagued the United States. In fact, it could reasonably be claimed that this form of inequality is part of the design of the American foundation - indeed, an integral part of it. Income inequality has worsened over the past several years and is at its highest level since the Great Depression. This is not, however, a new trend. Income inequality has been growing at rapid rates for three decades. As journalist Tim Noah described the process: "During the late 1980s and the late 1990s, the United States experienced two unprecedentedly long periods of sustained economic growth - the ‘seven fat years’ and the ‘long boom’. Yet from 1980 to 2005, more than 80 per cent of total increase in Americans' income went to the top one per cent. Economic growth was more sluggish in the aughts [the first decade of the new century], but the decade saw productivity increase by about 20 per cent. Yet virtually none of the increase translated into wage growth at middle and lower incomes, an outcome that left many economists scratching their heads. were on course...
 




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