The conversation should be about wealth inequality

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Ezra Klein posted on Wednesday, This viral video is right: We need to worry about wealth inequality:

Here’s a sentence I didn’t expect to write Wednesday: Dan Ariely and Michael Norton’s 2011 study on wealth inequality went viral on YouTube this week.

Do you remember the Ariely and Norton study? It’s a beautiful piece of work. First, they asked Americans what their ideal distribution of wealth would be. The answer? Much more equal.

Then they asked Americans what they thought the actual distribution of wealth was. Less equal than their ideal, came the answer. But the truth, as Ariely and Norton noted, was that America was much less equal even than that. Reality was twice as far from the average American’s ideal as the average American thought. Here’s their graph:


That’s a decent graph. But it’s not particularly striking. A YouTube user named “Politizane,” however, made a mind-blowing video (below the fold) visualizing the findings. So far, this video — which, again, is a visualization of an academic study on wealth inequality — has been viewed more than 3 million times. You’ll see why when you click play:

When we talk about economic inequality, we tend to talk about income inequality. But wealth inequality is much more skewed, as these numbers from the Economic Policy Institute show:


The top 1 percent has about twice as large a share of the national wealth as it does of national income.

Ezra Klein goes on to discuss why "There’s a strong case to be made that what we worry about when we worry about economic inequality makes much more sense in terms of wealth than income. Read his entire post. This viral video is right: We need to worry about wealth inequality.

0 responses to “The conversation should be about wealth inequality

  1. What’s the matter with Kansas? Do Americans suffer from Stockholm syndrome?