Inequality of wealth is a bone of contention with the wealth held by the poorest half of the world’s population matching the wealth held by the world’s 85 richest people and with the heirs of Walmart founder Sam Walton having as much wealth – $69 billion – as the bottom 40% of Americans.

The much discussed book ‘Capital in the 21st Century’ by French economist Thomas Piketty takes the view that protracted periods of peace and stability produce inequality because investment returns outpace GDP growth.

However, Larry Summers, former Secretary to the US Treasury and President of Harvard, says: “Piketty sees these developments (inequality) as reflecting iron laws of capitalism. I think they have more to do with particular policy choices that can be reversed: whether it is the erosion of labour bargaining rights or the excessive protection of intellectual property, or the insufficient regulation of the financial sector, or failures in corporate governance, or the lack of progressive taxation. I believe these problems are amenable to policy and cultural change and are not inevitable.”



  1. You’re absolutely right, Terry, she suckered us (but not me!) into buying our own property, castrated union power with legislation and set in motion a process of demonising working people as skivers, benefit-cheats and chavs.

  2. The British people were very easily tricked – Thatcher flogged off some national assets for a fraction of their price and made everyone with a few hundred pounds to spare feel like an entrepreneur capitalist while in fact the government had just handed people some of their own property, ie national assets.
    On the back of that she convinced most of the country that unions were redundant because everyone’s a capitalist now right? With nobody left fo fight for worker’s rights the ground was set for an all out exploitation, not only lousy pay rises but such nasties as zero-hour contract.
    We need those unions again, because the root problem is that the rich are highly motivated and organised, and the poor are not.

  3. Yes Keith, I was on strike at IPC in 79 and the management only caved in when the Daily Mirror, which IPC owned at that time, voted to come out in solidarity with us. Then a law was passed banning secondary action. That year we had a 19% pay rise and the company made less than 1% profit. Now the compsny makes 25%+ plus profits and pay rises are 1 or 2%. I suppose it is making us competitive with Asia but it’s gone too far.

  4. OOPS! It should have read

    Murphy’s Golden Law “Those who own the gold make the laws”

  5. The version of it I always say is “The laws of England are made for the rich by the rich”

    Ever since the 1970’s all political parties have removed the rights and freedoms of the workers and given ‘rights’ to their employers (if they haven’t taken their jobs too).

  6. Well actually Dr Bob, I think it was Margaret Thatcher who made most of the laws which Summers refers to.

  7. Yes, Dr. Bob, similar to who owns the money, plays the tune.

  8. One of Murphy’s laws.

    Those who own the gold make the laws

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