Browsing All posts tagged under »inequality«

Employing Hunter-Gatherer Psychology to Reduce Inequality

April 28, 2014 by

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Yesterday we published a guest blog by Joe Brewer, A World without Poverty. It triggered quite an intense discussion, which is a good thing (this is what this Forum is about). However, and somewhat disappointingly to me, most critique focused on ‘poverty,’ instead of ‘a world without.’ To me, Joe’s blog is really about inequality, […]

A World Without Poverty. A guest blog by Joe Brewer

April 27, 2014 by

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Imagine a world without poverty.  What would it look like?  Is it even possible?  How do we get there?  When people working at foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies dive into this topic, they typically do so with the assumption that poverty is just a natural part of the universe.  And yet, if they simply looked […]

Battle of the Ukrainian Oligarchs: the Chocolate King versus the Gas Princess

March 31, 2014 by

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At the end of my second blog on democracy and oligarchy in Ukraine, I came to a gloomy conclusion that there would be no real effort to curb the power of the oligarchs, and that it will be the common Ukrainians who will have to bear the costs of reforms. All this came to pass […]

Wealth and Democracy in Ukraine II

March 18, 2014 by

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In my previous blog I came to the conclusion that during its post-Soviet history Ukraine has become a Kevin Philips nightmare. No matter who gets elected there, they are either oligarchs, or oligarch stooges. It appears that the oligarchs not only control the parties that compete against each other during the elections, the Ukrainian billionaires […]

Wealth and Democracy in Ukraine

March 11, 2014 by

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The title of today’s blog echoes the influential book, Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich, published by the American political commentator Kevin Phillips in 2002. It’s a great book. Among other things, Philips came up with a way to quantify the dynamics of economic inequality for historical eras for which we […]

Economic Inequality, Elite Overproduction, and the Unraveling of Cooperation

March 9, 2014 by

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I just gave a live interview about my research to Left Jab Radio. For those listeners who are interested in the background of what I was discussing, I am reposting here the list of blogs that are most relevant to the issues of elite overproduction, inequality, and political instability. Elite Overproduction, Inequality, and Discord The […]

Good Hierarchy, Bad Hierarchy

February 15, 2014 by

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In the previous blog I came out very strongly against anarchism. It’s simply wishful thinking to believe that anything good can be achieved by abolishing the state. Yes, people can leave in stateless and elite-less societies (and have done so for tens of thousands of years). But they suffered from warfare in a really bad […]

The Pipe Dream of Anarcho-Populism

February 12, 2014 by

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Two weeks ago I was interviewed by BBC for their show Analysis that was aired on Feb. 3. You can listen to it here. A good summary is on the Equality by Lot blog. In the show Jeremy Cliffe examines the philosophy of Russell Brand, an English comedian and actor who gave the most watched […]

Yule in Denmark

December 28, 2013 by

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In my previous blog I speculated that the Danes use ritualistic feasting as a way of creating a shared sense of belonging, which is an important basis for social cooperation and trust. Last week I was able to make more detailed observations on one such collective ritual. During the period preceding Christmas there are a […]

The Memphis Green Machine: Lending a Helping Hand to Cultural Evolution

November 29, 2013 by

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Readers who have been following this blog for a while know that in addition to being a professor at the University of Connecticut, I wear a second hat as the Vice-President of the Evolution Institute (EI). The chief goal of the Evolution Institute is to connect the evolutionary science to public policy issues. My main […]

Why Is the Cost of Running for Office Exploding?

November 26, 2013 by

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The original text of the opinion piece on intraelite competition that I sent to Bloomberg Opinion grew to almost twice the length when it was finally published. The two editors kept asking me to expand on some points and to provide supplementary evidence on others. Not all of this ended up in the article. One […]

How Elite Overproduction Brings Disorder

November 20, 2013 by

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Today Bloomberg.com published my opinion piece in which I analyze the connection between economic inequality and political instability. It starts: Complex human societies, including our own, are fragile. They are held together by an invisible web of mutual trust and social cooperation. This web can fray easily, resulting in a wave of political instability, internal […]

Bimodal Lawyers: How Extreme Competition Breeds Extreme Inequality

November 10, 2013 by

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One of the most important ideas that I am trying to inject into the debate about the consequences of growing inequality on American society is ‘elite overproduction’. I use the sociological definition of elites: it’s the small proportion of the population (typically 1-2 percent) that concentrate power in their hands. In other words, these are […]

The Tall-but-Poor ‘Anomaly’

November 5, 2013 by

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In my previous blog on War Before Civilization I used the paintings by a French artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues. Although there was some controversy on the authenticity of his depictions of life in Southeastern North America in sixteenth century, I believe that at this point the verdict is that they are a good […]

Paradoxes of the Nordic Model II

October 23, 2013 by

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(Continued from Part I) I had to get a temporary account in a Danish bank, anyway, so I decided to wait with paying the bill until I had it. Two weeks later I had the requisites and I went back to the nearest Danske Bank (DB) branch to get an account. I filled the form […]

Getting to Norway

October 12, 2013 by

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I am in Oslo, attending an Evolution Institute-organized workshop led by my EI colleagues Jerry Lieberman and David Sloan Wilson. We are in Norway because this country is well known for a very high quality of life. In fact, during the last decade Norway has reliably occupied the number 1 position in the United Nations […]

Economics Meets Evolution – in a Fantastic Setting

September 16, 2013 by

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Over the last two weeks I did not have any time left for blogging. First, I have moved from Connecticut to Aarhus, where I will be for the next several months. Or, at least, this is where I will be based – I already have a lot of trips planned, all over Europe. Second, I […]

More on Labor Supply (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing V)

April 21, 2013 by

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The previous blog in this series showed that a simple three-factorial model can reproduce very faithfully the long-term dynamics of real wages. The model not only explains why the real wages stopped growing in the late 1970s, but also (surprisingly) the ups and downs since 1980. Furthermore, the model predicts the real wage five years […]

Putting It All Together (Why Real Wages Stopped Growing IV)

April 15, 2013 by

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Previous installments in this series posed the question and examined potential components of an answer: first, long-term trend in GDP and labor demand and supply curves, next, cultural influences. It is time to put it all together and analyze quantitatively the relative contributions, if any, of the three factors. What I will do now is […]

The End of Prosperity: Why Did Real Wages Stop Growing in the 1970s?

April 4, 2013 by

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Something happened in the 1970s. Take a look at this graphic: During most of the 20th century—until the 1970s—wages of American workers grew much faster than inflation. In the half-century after 1927 real wages of unskilled labor increased by a factor of 3.5, while wages of manufacturing workers, expressed in inflation-adjusted dollars, increased 4-fold. Then […]

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