I read a good analogy of what’s going on in our country in Nicholas Kristof’s October 4 column in The New York Times.
He asks us to picture a kindergarten room filled with toys, games, books, paint and crayons. You walk in and one little boy is hogging 90 percent of the goodies. A handful of children have a few toys each, and 90 percent of the children have none.
You ask the little boy to share and he says he doesn’t want to, and you should stop trying to redistribute.
We’d never put up with it in a kindergarten, but this is the state of wealth distribution in our country today, “where the top 1 percent possesses a greater collective worth than the entire bottom 90 percent.”
Kristof mentions an interesting study. If you give Americans a description of wealth distribution in this country and in Sweden, and ask them which place they’d rather live, 90 percent choose Sweden. The trick being–you leave out the names of the countries.
He recommends a new book by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality, in which Stiglitz warns that our present inequality creates an economic system less stable, less efficient, and with less growth.
The problem is, Kristof says, we already think we live in Sweden.