Originally posted by bill718
Not a major surprise. The rich have been exploiting the poor for centuries. It normally follows 4 periods
1. A massive gap between the rich and everyone else
2. Uprisings (usually violent)
3. A more even distribution of wealth
4. A slow build up of wealth in the hands of a few at the expense of the masses
And the cycle starts again
Now we know what the future holds....
Well that is not the pattern revealed by the data, as Piketty showed recently, and I am not sure where you think these revolutions were that turned the world on its head. In the 19th century, there was a massively unequal distribution of wealth, ignoring the USA where special conditions arose from the expansion into the west over two centuries, Those special conditions no longer apply. Elsewhere there was a very wealthy plutocracy owning at least 90% of all wealth. Economic growth was slow and uneven, contrary to popular opinion, and conditions favoured inherited wealth at the expense of initiative. In Britain and the USA, a commitment to repay national debt and maintain government budget surpluses held back economic development significantly. The growth there was came through imperialism in various forms, notably the "Rush for Africa" of the 1870s. The US sought growth abroad through direct imperialism (remember the Phillipines?) and the enforced opening of markets, notably the Chinese markets, to the advantage of the American corporations.
In World War 1, a huge proportion of the world's wealth was destroyed and the same happened in World War 2. That hit the wealthy most and they lost their total domination of the world's political systems. Notice the destructive impact came through war and not through revolution, which followed the disaster of war in Russia after WW1, China after WW2. There was a period of vigorous economic growth in which wealth was to some extent redistributed, benefitting the middle class but not the less affluent 50%. Since the seventies, growth has slowed and conditions have again come to favour the wealthy at the expense of those seeking to earn their living. We are returning to a plutocratic distribution of wealth and income, our middle classes are shrinking dramatically, opportunity is increasingly concentrated on those who inherit wealth and privilige. This time around, the USA is very much within the same pattern and the "Anglo Saxon" economies are seeing a far more severe process of wealth oncentration than the social democracies to the extent that they retain at least some commitment to redistribution.
Expect that your grandchildren will be unable to work their way out of relatively very modest means unless you are able to leave them a significant sum in your wills, which is not very likely for most people - for more than 90% of people, to be accurate.
The good news? normbenign has discovered that all this economic research is deeply flawed and he is going to explain this to us soon, which will doubtless attract international attention since academic economists have been unable to demonstrate the flaws in Piketty's research.