The lead-up to and aftermath of the Great Recession spawned a great deal of research on economic inequality. Some of this work (contributions by Bartels, Wilkinson and Pickett, Alesina and Glaeser) is excellent and well worth reading. Among even the best contributions to the discourse, however, the same dull, liberal conclusion prevails: the solution to rising inequality is a set of more effective redistributive measures. Such a solution draws a slew of predictably derisive comments from cranky leftists like me, who consider social democratic reforms inadequate. Capitalism with a human face, we diligently repeat, is still capitalism.
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