Monday, August 06, 2012

Too Much Online, Free Newsweekly, 06 August 2012

Most Americans want to live in a much more equal country, Duke University's Dan Ariely quipped in the Atlantic last week. They just don’t realize it.

Ariely should know. In a huge research project, Ariely and a colleague asked over 5,000 Americans how much of America’s wealth belongs to the richest and poorest fifths of U.S. households and each fifth in between. A “vast majority” gave responses that wildly underestimated how unequal America has become.

The researchers then asked everyone in their sample to choose between two unidentified distributions of wealth, one representing the actual distribution in the United States today, the other the distribution in Sweden. Over 90 percent of both Democrats and Republicans preferred the much more equal Swedish distribution.

Given this overwhelming preference for greater equality, how can the United States still be getting more unequal, not less? Good question. One answer: Our democracy has become a plutocracy. The rich rule. And these days, as we detail in this week’s Too Much, they don’t see any need to sugarcoat their dominance. ... Read more at Too Much Online.

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