A recent article in POLITICO Magazine (a publication that is increasingly frustrating me) tries to make the claim the Western income inequality is the cause of Vladimir Putin’s increasingly aggressive and autocratic Russia. The author claims that inequality has destroyed the America’s economy and created a society with stark class divisions that have caused the average American to become so demoralized that he no longer cares about the world. This is a classic case of “flavor of the month” opining. Pick a problem in the world and then claim it is caused by whatever “issue” is popular at the moment. Recently the popular issue is inequality thanks to Mr. Piketty and his book. Therefore every problem in our world can now be blamed on inequality. Putin invades Ukraine? Inequality. Drought in California? Inequality. Political gridlock? Inequality. Beyonce and Jay Z skip Kimye’s wedding? Clearly a result of inequality. The good news is that eventually the inequality fad will pass. The bad news is that it will only be replaced with other recurring flavors of the month such as climate change, American imperialism, the NRA and everyone’s favorite: racism.
As for refuting the article in POLITICO, simply put the author conflates true capitalism (free-markets, small government, equality before the law, competition) with the cronyism that is all too prevalent in our society.