Friday, January 15, 2016

Two data points

I happened to stumble across two interesting data points today.  One supports my beliefs, the other doesn't.

The one that does is a study reported in the Washington Post that shows that wealth inequality is more likely a result of rent seeking than innovation.

The one that doesn't is the apparent inability of billionaires to stem the populist tide in the Republican party and buy themselves a president.

I'm actually quite happy to be proven wrong about the power of money in politics.  Maybe there's hope for democracy after all, though it is staggeringly ironic that this hope should come in the form of Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.

(Well, actually, I don't think I'm completely wrong.  It's pretty clear that money can buy a lot of influence, particularly behind the scenes.  But it is encouraging that the Koch brothers still can't buy the presidency.)


Don Geddis said...

@Ron: the (wealth? income? -- these are different, but people are rarely careful to distinguish which one they're talking about) inequality = rents claim was mostly from this paper. Some interesting ideas there, but I will say that if you want to eliminate copyright protection for actors in major motion pictures, and for singers selling albums of their own compositions and recordings, or perhaps allow anyone to practice medicine without a medical license or degree ... well, that's a really different thing than trying to make the income tax code "more progressive" by increasing the top marginal tax rates.

Ron said...

Oh man, don't even get me started on the myriad ways that copyright and patents are broken!