Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Class War (in the US) - Rich vs Super Rich

Fortune article cited in two economists' blogs.

The widening chasm between rich and poor may well threaten our democracy. ...America's income gap is arguably less likely to spark a retro fight between proletarians and capitalists than a war between what I call the "lower upper class" and the ultrarich.

...the hopes and dreams of today's educated class are based on the idea that market capitalism is a meritocracy. The unreachable success of the superrich shreds those dreams.

Lower uppers are doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers. At companies they're mostly executives above the rank of VP but below the CEO. Their comrades include well-fed members of the media (and even Fortune columnists who earn their living as consultants).

Lower uppers are professionals who by dint of schooling, hard work and luck are living better than 99 percent of the humans who have ever walked the planet. They're also people who can't help but notice how many folks with credentials like theirs are living in Gatsby-esque splendor they'll never enjoy.

This stings. If people no smarter or better than you are making ten or 50 or 100 million dollars in a single year while you're working yourself ragged to earn a million or two - or, God forbid, $400,000 - then something must be wrong.

Similar to something I experienced (while hanging out) with some of Singapore's scholar 'elites'. Some bemoaned being sent to 'less prestigious' (aka cheaper, and usually public) colleges while their peers got the full ride to the Ivies. And all were under the same bond length.

No comments: