Source: Economic Policy Institute
There is this weird counter-narrative to the wealth and income inequality issue. The data analysis falls into two camps — one legitimate and one not.
The legit approach points out that the middle and lower economic classes have seen big gains in living standards, especially people rising out of extreme poverty around the world. Longer lifespans, amazing technologies, improving health care, increasing freedoms, higher literacy, lower crime rates, less poverty, etc.
The illegitimate uses the gaslighting approach to make absurd claims: You are not poor; income inequality is a myth; the middle class is doing just fin, there is no wage or wealth gap; the poor are better off than kings 3 centuries ago, etc.
Here is some astonishing data from EPI:
“Newly available wage data for 2018 show that annual wages for the top 1.0% were nearly flat (up 0.2%) while wages for the bottom 90% rose an above-average 1.4%. Still, the top 1.0% has done far better in the 2009–18 recovery (their wages rose 19.2%) than did those in the bottom 90%, whose wages rose only 6.8%. Over the last four decades since 1979, the top 1.0% saw their wages grow by 157.8% and those in the top 0.1% had wages grow more than twice as fast, up 340.7%. In contrast those in the bottom 90% had annual wages grow by 23.9% from 1979 to 2018. This disparity in wage growth reflects a sharp long-term rise in the share of total wages earned by those in the top 1.0% and 0.1%.”
Wealth is first and always, a relative concept. Thats why there is so much angst and frustration over the wealth gap.
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