- Created: Tuesday, 14 August 2018 10:48
- Written by Will Harney
Since the 1970s, inequality has grown to such obscene proportions, both domestically and globally, that some historians are comparing modern society with medieval feudalism and ancient slave-owning economies to try and understand what might happen next.1 The vast majority of people have taken only a small part of income growth for several decades; they look on with growing and justified resentment as an elite minority accumulates spectacular wealth while their own wages stagnate, decade on decade, and the public services they depend on for daily life are neglected, dismantled and privatised. Some sections of the capitalist class are clearly becoming uneasy as the growing rift between rich and poor could soon threaten economic and political stability. Economists, business leaders and policy thinktanks attempt to solve the ‘inequality question’ with a variety of proposals, ranging from well-meaning philanthropy to a global wealth tax. But they are bringing knives to a gunfight. The historians are right – inequality will be levelled by disaster or by revolution. Will Harney reports.