Home > Economic policy > A couple of quick links on inequality

A couple of quick links on inequality

July 25th, 2017

The issue of inequality is finally attracting some attention. I have a piece today in Inside Story, an update of a post here from 2012, on inherited wealth. Also, Greg Jericho in The Guardian and Bernard Keane in Crikey (paywalled) refute the attempts by the government and its apologists to claim that inequality is not growing in Australia. I’ll have a bit more on this soon, I hope.

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  1. bjb
    July 25th, 2017 at 22:08 | #1

    JQ says in the Inside Story piece “In particular, most of the very wealthiest Americans have made their fortunes from the technology boom that began in the 1990s.” – but the two poster children for that, Gates and Zuckerberg are not as “self made” as one might believe.

    Gates was in the lucky position that as an 18 or 19 year old he had the resources to shell out $50K to buy Tim Paterson’s QDOS, which he then on-licenced to IBM. As well of course as having his Mum introduce him at the right level to IBM, and a Dad as a corporate lawyer.

    Zuckerberg had all the privilege that flows from going to a $30K/term school and having private tutoring in programming, which surely assisted him in the first iteration of Facebook.

    So it’s not just inherited wealth – it’s starting 10 rungs up the ladder to begin with.

  2. Newtownian
    July 25th, 2017 at 22:31 | #2

    The BRW rich list is terribly depressing. I didnt realise the Oligarchy had grown so obscenely large.

    And yet the “Total wealth on the list is $233.1 billion”. This compares with the 2 trillion in superannuation. Doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out the next target of rent gouging for them and the slightly less super wealthy in the $100-360 million zone.

  3. Smith
    July 25th, 2017 at 23:14 | #3

    All this stuff about to children inheriting from their ultra rich parents is interesting as far it goes, but the big story – big in quantitative importance – will be the children of the baby boomers inheriting all that expensive real estate. There are a couple of hundred BRW rich listers. There are millions of baby boomers all approaching old age and death.

  4. John Quiggin
    July 26th, 2017 at 06:08 | #4

    @Smith

    Both are covered in the article and both are important in quantitative terms. Again, try to read before you comment.

  5. John Turner
    July 28th, 2017 at 13:51 | #5

    JQ your article is spot on. It would be interesting to see the equivalent of Emannuel Saez’s chart for both the UK and Australia and indeed Germany.

    Given that so many high income and high wealth individuals are able to offshore their income and wealth, I presume that the picture may be somewhat worse than the Saez chart actually indicates. The widespread use of discretionary trusts in Australia which is a current topic for discussion, would also tend to distort the figures. The position presented in the article is therefore probably the best spin one could put on the present state of inequality.

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