Inequality: the buzzword and the norm

Gerald_G_Fairy_sitting_on_MoonIt appears the latest economic buzzword and current explanation for economic problems is inequality.

Historically inequality has been the norm for most large-scale societies.  Just think Roman Empire and Europe during  the Middle Ages.  Wherever societies have been large enough to have rulers who did not know all their subjects some people have used their strength to exploit others and most of the time the others were left just at a subsistence level.

Starting with the Industrial Revolution things started to change.  People became more efficient at extracting resources and making things which meant increasing prosperity.  A shortage of bodies in some parts of the world allowed more people to claim a share of that prosperity.  To some extent our income and standard of living is a function of the supply and demand for bodies.

It may be that this golden age of prosperity has not been experienced by all the people currently living on this planet and equality is still the norm for lots of places.

In the last few years things have been changing.  We have exploited the most easily accessible resources upon which our prosperity has been based and there are more and more people demanding a share of what we do have.

So there you have it.  We are returning to the norm where a few people are able to claim most of the available resources.  And some people will say we can overcome all economic problems if we can return to more equal economy.

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