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The Rise of the Plutocrats

December 3, 2012

Chrystia Freeland in The GlobalistThePlutocrats_72dpi:

It has long been acceptable in the United States to celebrate the achievements of the super-rich — their great wealth, their mansions, their yachts. Strangely, it has been less acceptable to talk about the great disparities that exist between the super-rich and everyone else. In her new book, “Plutocrats,” Chrystia Freeland examines the widening gulf between the haves and have-nots.

Branko Milanovic is an economist at the World Bank. He first became interested in income inequality studying for his doctorate in the 1980s in his native Yugoslavia. At the time, he discovered the subject was officially viewed as a “sensitive” subject in his home country — which meant one the ruling regime didn’t want its scholars to look at too closely.

That wasn’t a huge surprise. After all, the central ideological promise of socialism was to deliver a classless society. But when Milanovic moved to Washington, D.C., the capital city of the country that serves as the citadel of capitalism, he discovered a curious thing. Americans were happy to celebrate their super-rich and, at least sometimes, worry about their poor. But putting those two conversations together and talking about economic inequality was pretty much taboo. [More]

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