The heresy of common sense policy

Bill Mitchell had an interesting and instructive post to his billy blog on 19 June, ‘Britain continues to look like a failed state’. Couple observations leap out that fit neatly into the heretical views of the indomitable invicti et invictae, stuff like family, community, society and quality of life. Of course, we do recognise that Thatcher did remind us, ‘And, you know, there is no such thing as society’, and do choose to sanely and humanely ignore that drivel.  Bilbo stated, ‘…I am sometimes asked when making public presentations how I judge the success or otherwise of public policy. I respond with a simple rule of thumb. The benchmark is not how rich the policy framework makes society in general but how rich it makes the poor!…’

With such a lead-in we have a look at how many countries of Latin America have fared in that direction.

Latin-America-inequality-1990-2008

To put that in context, we add some reality to the incessant PR. Here in a nutshell is something, covered also by The Atlantic on 13 May 2011.

OECD2011Fig1

For more depth and analysis we turn to this very recent article, ‘Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality’, (h/t Naked Capitalism), where we witness the unrelenting reversal of substantial economic gains among the lower deciles of the US population. In the first interactive figure we see the share of income going to that one percent decreasing by 26.6% over the 1947 – 1979 period, thereafter increasing healthily over 1979 – 2012 by 119.6%, a new very gilded era. The second interactive chart compares the Gini coefficients of the US with its OECD counterparts. For the US, the figure for 2008 was 0.38 compared with 0.36 for 2000.

And talking about the Gilded Age II, why not have Miles Corak throw a curve at the Great Gatsby?

great-gatsby-curve 2012

On poverty reduction, no endless ‘war’ needed. Only policymakers not in the thrall of their one-percent controllers. Heresy, clearly.

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