Nancy Folbre takes issue with Harvard professor Gregory Mankiw’s defense of the one percent:
The rich are not like you and me. They contribute far more to society than everybody else, so argues Harvard University economist Gregory Mankiw in his essay “Defending the One Percent.” Mankiw’s praise for talented superstars such as Steven Jobs, J.K. Rowling, and Steven Spielberg quickly blooms into a more general argument that competitive labor markets pay workers what they deserve. This is music to the ears of high earners, and it sings to a very human desire to believe that the world is fair….
Some of us contribute more than members of the top one percent to the economy, and some of us contribute less. None of us gets exactly what we deserve. One difference between the rich and us is that they have more money. They also enjoy—both as cause and effect—a lot more power.
Recently critics have mounted a more fundamental line of attack on mainstream economists, taking aim at the ideology that has grown dominant over the past 30 years, which they say played a significant part in causing the Great Recession and not doing much to help solve it.
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From Nancy Folbre’s NYT Economix post, Occupy Economics:
The Occupy Wall Street movement, displaced from some key geographic locations, now enjoys a small but significant encampment among economists.
Concerns about the impact of growing economic inequality fit neatly into a larger critique of mainstream economic theory and its deep faith in the efficiency of markets.
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