Boston Review Forum

Forum on Inequality from the Boston Review, via Mike Konczal at Rortybomb. The main piece is from David Grusky and argues that inequality is mainly caused by rent due to market imperfections. What we need to do, he argues, is cure these market imperfections.

In some ways, that’s hard to argue with. Unless we believe that some people are 10,000 times more productive than other people, than there must be some market imperfection(s).

But I’m not sure how far you’re going to get with this argument and much of what you’d do to repair these market failures will require increased tax revenue (improve poor schools, increase access to higher education, etc.). But as Piketty, Saez, and Stantcheva argue, a higher marginal tax may be one of the cures for higher inequality in the first place.

If that’s the case, then it makes more sense to start with the higher marginal tax rate and finish by curing the market failures. But who’s going to vote for it?

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