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The Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Political Power — Class 6
This week brings us to one of the core problems of widening inequality — the inevitability that concentrated income and wealth at the top comes with political power. Wealth isn’t a zero-sum game in which the rich get richer only if others become poorer, but political power is zero-sum. This creates a vicious cycle by which the super-rich get changes in laws and rules that define the market, which make them even richer and more powerful.
Here’s the class (just double-click the red play button):
The questions I’ll be addressing this week: How does economic power translate into political power? How does political power generate more economic power? How much of the phenomenon of widening inequality is due to this vicious cycle? Also: What’s the difference between “pre-distribution” and “redistribution” of income and wealth? In what ways are income and wealth now pre-distributed upward?
Recommended readings (click on the link):
Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics, American Political Science Association, September 2014