Inequality and the Anglo-American Economic Model
The rollback of the state and the redistribution initiated during the Reagan-Thatcher period in the US and Britain has resulted in these countries being the least egalitarian in the OECD, with wages increasingly de-coupled from productivity growth and gains accruing to top CEOs. The view that inequality is attributable solely to the new premium on human capital is challenged; it is argued that inequality has resulted from mainly from personal tax breaks and the corporate drive for ‘shareholder value’. The social costs are evident from the sociological and epidemiological evidence. Equally, inequality has helped fuel US consumer spending, facilitated by low interest rates, holding gains and credit deregulation. The result is a ‘triple deficit’. The risk is that by relying exclusively on market-led devaluation, a crisis of confidence will result; righting financial imbalances requires not merely a Plaza-type solution, but a major reversal in the growth of inequality.
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