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Will America’s Inequality Crisis Be Solved Through Redistribution, Or Revolution? Printer friendly page Print This
By Dallas Darling
Submitted by Author
Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018

“For the past four decades,” wrote Peter Georgescu, “American capitalism has been slowly committing suicide.” [1] He also warned that history has a habit of repeating itself. This is especially true in economic systems which increasingly concentrates wealth within the pockets of a smaller and smaller percentage of the of the population-those who demand and get a disproportionately large share of the profit, rather than those who do the work that creates it. As a result, when income inequality crisis gets too severe it solves itself in one of two ways: either society redistributes through taxation and more equal opportunities, or poverty gets redistributed through revolution.”

Income Inequality-Monetary Or Moral Problem?
With the Stock Market at an all time high, and the new Tax Law that lowers the corporate tax rate by 14 percent-not to mention the average rate was already at 18 percent which included large government subsidies, economists are projecting a rosy future. And yet, the Stock Market and stock prices have not always been a healthy yardstick of the nation’s financial and economic health. To be sure, short-term and unintended actions have had disastrous long-term consequences for companies and society. If left to its own demise, capitalism can be inherently self-destructive, especially as it favors those who already have more income at their disposal, and as equal income opportunities disappear.

Imbalance Between Rich and Poor Is a Fatal Ailment
It’s hard to deny that the dangers of income inequality and lack of opportunity is rampant in America. Not only do people in the top 5 percent of earning power receive 25 percent of all personal income, but the lower 40 percent of the population earn only about 17 percent. What’s more, economic studies show that nearly 60 percent of the population stay afloat only through deficit spending. (This includes transfer benefits such as food stamps, unemployment insurance, state and local supplemental income, and more.) Given the fact that only 40 percent of Americans have some kind of investment in the Stock Market, it seems rainy days instead of sunny days are ahead.

Capitalism’s Corpses Go Both Ways
Whether extreme poverty, poverty, or more than half the population sliding toward insolvency, it’s also clear the system is failing and the light is blinking red. Being poor is actually very expensive and deadly-materially, emotionally, and psychologically. Underlying many movements, like Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party, Black Lives Matter, Populists Arise, or AntiFa, are grievances against the injustices of America’s economic system. As income inequality drives inequality of opportunity, decreasing opportunities will be major threats. A dearth of opportunity and the anger will surely erupt in more Fergusons, Baltimores, Charlestons, and Congressional practice fields shootings.

A Struggle To Death Between Future and Past
In the past, the desire to move upward spurred aspiration. It’s now spurring frustration, envy, and violence. Some not only see the lifestyle of the rich and famous-including politicians-as having destroyed prospects for those trying to move up the economic ladder of opportunity, but their bitter over how CEO pay grew 231 times faster than the average worker’s salary in the last three decades. [2] They’re angry too how compensations in the executive suite grew 725 percent, while worker’s wage rose only 17 percent-despite productivity increasing 360 percent. Unless wages are raised and opportunities increased, the emerging poor will represent a larger and larger portion of America’s citizenry.

Let the Ruling and Wealthy Classes Tremble
But this time, the problem won’t be a North vs. South civil war, or even a racial or gender issue. It will be a “left behind issue,” the “invisible poor next door” issue. When the income inequality crisis gets too severe, poverty and the loss of human dignity will, to be sure, get redistributed through another revolution.

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John’s Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for You can read more of Dallas’ writings at and

(1) Georgescu, Peter. Capitalists Arise! End Economic Inequality, Grow The Middle Class, Heal The Nation. Oakland, California: BK Publishers, 2017., p. 1.
(2) See Economic Policy Institute Reports.

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