Paul Krugman: Conservatives want you to believe there's "a longer-term case in favor of vast inequality"

Recent experience has not been kind to the conservative position, but they're not not going to take it

By Scott Eric Kaufman
Published January 15, 2016 1:01PM (EST)
 (AP/Lai Seng Sin)
(AP/Lai Seng Sin)

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued on Friday that contrary to what the conservative elite believe, the economy "can flourish with much less concentration of income and wealth at the very top."

Why? Because so much of it based on dumb luck, not merit -- and "not just the luck of being the first to stumble on a highly profitable idea or strategy, but also the luck of being born to the right parents." Because high income isn't a moral reflection or an accurate indication of economic productivity, "there's a strong case to be made for collecting some of that wealth in taxes and using it to make society as a whole stronger, as long as it doesn’t destroy the incentive to keep creating more wealth."

Because, according to Krugman,

In today’s world, high-tax, low-inequality countries like Sweden are also both highly innovative and home to many business start-ups. This may in part be because a strong safety net encourages risk-taking: People may be willing to prospect for gold, even if a successful foray won’t make them quite as rich as before, if they know they won’t starve if they come up empty...

Read the rest at the New York Times...

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Economics Inequality Paul Krugman