The New World is becoming the Old


By the Flying Dutchman
July 29th, 2017


[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off”]For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the class-bound societies of Western Europe were dominated by an elite that owned much of the land and the wealth. The United States had rich and poor, too, but the wealth was still spread around a bit more widely. In 1910, for example, the top one percent in Europe owned about sixty-five per cent of all wealth; in the United States, the figure was forty-five percent.

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In recent decades, the roles have been reversed. The U.S. elite has outstripped its counterpart on the other side of the Atlantic, and wealth has become even more concentrated in the United States than it is in Europe. In 2010, the American top one percent owned about a third of all the wealth: the European one percent owned about a quarter. Citing figures like these, Thomas Piketty, the economist behind the chart, warns that “the New World may be on the verge of becoming the Old Europe of the twenty-first century’s globalized economy.”


 

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