PLUTOCRACY OR PUBLIC SPIRIT
Thomas Piketty, the economist and author of the 700-page “Capital in the 21st century, describes neoliberalism as an “inequality machine” and urges a Wealth Tax to avert plutocracy. Life in the 21st century resembles life in the “Roaring 90s” when the top 1% had more than 90%.
Neoliberal myths include: (1) The market is self-healing and creates living-wage jobs, (2) CEOs are job creators and workers are cost-factors, (3) Finance drives the real economy, (4) the state is the problem, not the solution, (5) financial markets tend to equilibrium, (6) high profits lead to greater investment and more jobs. and (7) sharing and redistribution discourage achievement. In reality, all personal and social achievement is based on state investment in schools, hospitals, libraries, roads, water safety, food quality, and airwaves.
Market distortions include: (1) Tax havens, (2) Micro-second betting, (3) Stock buybacks and (4) Insider trading. Corporations and the super-rich shift their profits to miniature states like Lichtenstein and the Cayman Islands and states and communities suffer revenue shortfalls. When does progressive economic theory replace myths and fairy-tales?