Even if increased equity were to involve a slightly smaller pie, the resulting social order may be preferred. When poverty declines, the social costs of poverty fall, and despair is replaced by hope.
As the climb of upward mobility has grown steeper, our rags-to-riches entertainments have grown more garish, random, and humiliating.
Income disparity is likely to keep getting worse, eventually undermining the viability of democratic capitalism. This stark message has made Thomas Piketty's book the object of much scrutiny.
This graphic from the Wall Street Journal is amazing. The article does point out that tax increases coming out of the fiscal-cliff deal will affect all workers—because of the end of the payroll tax holiday—not just those whose taxes on wage income and investments are going up. But the graphic sticks with the six-figure folks, all drawn to look rather put upon.
If you ask socially dominant students at any major university in the U.S., they will know a story about a young woman who has been rated for her various "abilities" by members of a sporting team on campus. The ratings usually function semiprivately and circulate among the men. Meanwhile, a different little scandal is brewing here at Duke, over another set of numbers that also usually circulate semiprivately among men.