Sunday, September 23, 2007

Krugman on the Past

Paul Krugman refers to the period from about the 1940s to the 1970s as "Middle class America," and says: "It was a society without extremes of wealth or poverty, a society of broadly shared prosperity, ... ." Seriously, is this a joke? First of all, I don't think the millions of blacks in the South thought so highly of this period. It's certainly possible that Krugman is thinking only of how the white people in his neighborhood lived, but that's not representative of society as a whole. Second, more generally, how can he possibly say there were no extremes of wealth or poverty? He's using the statistics for the top 10% of income earners. But I'd like to see how the top 1%, 5% and bottom 1% and 5% fared. Given the dominance of manufacturing industry at this time, I have a hard time believing that the concentration of wealth and power was less than it is today.

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