According to William D. Cohan, a former Wall Street banker who has written frequently about billionaires, if the investor class were truly interested in targeting unfairness, its members would try to alter the policies of the Federal Reserve, which tend to help the rich, or do away with inequity-inducing programs like tax incentives for hedge funds.
Mr. Cohan said that proposals like increasing the minimum wage, a popular rallying cry among those decrying income inequality, would have, at best, a minimal effect on reducing the rift between ordinary people and the 1 percent.
Most billionaires, he added, are apt to address inequality by donating portions of their fortunes, not by seeking systemic economic change. “Charity? Yes,” Mr. Cohan said. “But leveling the playing field? No.”
And yet the extremely wealthy do face an abiding risk from festering inequity: The have-nots might finally lose patience and turn upon the haves.
“That’s the real danger,” Mr. Cohan said. “This little thing called the French Revolution.”
Billionaires to the Barricades
By ALAN FEUER
JULY 3, 2015
New York Times
We face a technological revolution potentially as significant as the agricultural revolution. Some 12,000 years ago, that revolution led to the very development of “civilization” as we understand it—a revolution so profound that it even changed our DNA, as wealthy farmers produced far more offspring than the indigent. The technological revolution now underway will again force us to question the way we live together—not which political party occupies the White House, but whether our political and economic systems can continue to serve our needs in an age of unthinkable abundance
, increasing inequality, and zero-wage labor.
Already, today, machines are fighting our wars, managing our money, diagnosing patients, engaging in basic legal discovery, and manufacturing our products. Soon they will be driving our cars, flying our planes, caring for the elderly, and even running our corporations.
Michael Osbourne, co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment at Oxford University, reported that 47 percent of jobs in the United States are at risk of automation in the next twenty years. This comports with similar findings from the likes of Brynjolfsson, McAffee, and a growing chorus of scholars....We are going to replace doctors, lawyers, accountants, and hedge fund managers, along with truck drivers, pilots, assembly line workers, executives, bank tellers, and scientific researchers.
The Arts and Humanities Aren’t Worth a Dime
June 22, 2015
is a universal income grant available to every citizen without means test or work requirement. Academic discussion of basic income and related policies has been growing in the fields of economics, philosophy, political science, sociology, and public policy over the last few decades — with dozens of journal articles published each year, and basic income constituting the subject of more than 30 books in the last 10 years. In addition, the political discussion of basic income has been expanding through social organizations, NGOs and other advocacy groups. Internationally, recent years have witnessed the endorsement of basic income by grassroots movements as well as government officials in developing countries such as Brazil or South-Africa.
As the community of people working on this issue has been expanding all over the world, incorporating grassroots activists, high profile academics — including several Nobel Prize winners in economics — and policymakers, the amount of high quality research on this topic has increased considerably.
Basic Income Studies