A SOBER LOOK AT OUR NEW ‘GILDED AGE’

This IMF-hosted presentation on 6 June is most interesting, if you can spare the one hour and twelve minutes necessary to watch the video.

Speakers allude to the Progressive Era as a reaction to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, where things seemed to be going so well industrially but, once you scratched the gilded veneer away, there was nevertheless the phenomenon of increasing poverty.

As one of the speakers said, Mark Twain’s ‘Gilded Age’ was also the period of Henry George’s seminal work, ‘Progress and Poverty’.

Another speaker notes Germany’s current relative success in educating people with applied skills, without alluding to the US having instead cast its lot in with monopoly rent-seeking, profiteering and graft – the very things the Progressive Era (1890 – 1920) endeavoured to address by taxing super-profits or unearned incomes away.

Christine Lagarde poses one final question: “What one immediate change should we employ to fix things?”

To which I’d reply: “Do the same thing all the classical economists told us to do to obviate monopolies and poverty: tax away super-profits/economic rents.”