Tuesday, October 27, 2015

why you didn't see it coming...,

nautilus |  Media may already be helping us understand the economic scale changes happening in this country. The surprising success of Bernie Sanders has been propelled by online discussions of income inequality. Michael Konczal, a fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, points out that between 1980 and 2006, gross domestic product increased fivefold, while financial sector profits increased sixteenfold. Between 1984 and 2014, the increases have been fourfold and tenfold, respectively. At this rate, we could well be in for a black hole-sized phase change.

Even billionaires know something qualitatively new is going on here—something so different that the old rules don’t apply. “I’m scared,” wrote Peter Georgescu, chairman of advertising giant Young and Rubicam, in The New York Times recently, speaking of the income gap. “We risk losing the capitalist engine that brought us great economic success.” His billionaire friends are scared too, he said. They know what we’re seeing is not just more of the same.

Could a tipping point exist where a concentrated quantity of power and money really change society? Even individual behavior? The evidence is mounting. One sociological study showed that drivers of more expensive cars are less likely to stop for pedestrians than drivers of less expensive cars. Nobel laureate in economics Daniel Kahneman points to studies suggesting that “living in a culture that surrounds us with reminders of money may shape our behavior and our attitudes in ways that we do not know about and of which we may not be proud.”