When it comes to official explanations of the current crisis, inequality is the elephant in the room. The report of the bipartisan US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which blamed pretty well everybody and everything for the 2008 crash, failed to mention ‘inequality’ once in its mammoth 662 page report. Yet the historical evidence says otherwise.
For the last thirty years, the gains from growth in a number of rich countries have gone increasingly to big business and a small financial elite. Since 1980, average real wages in the UK have risen at half the speed of growth, while in the US, living standards for four-fifths of the workforce have been little better than stagnant. In Germany the end of the party came a little later - real wages started flatlining from the millennium. It is these trends that have powered today’s towering personal fortunes, and left workforces with a declining share of the economic cake.Add a comment