Date: Tuesday 22nd February
Wealth inequality is as an emotive subject as any. At a minimum it can divide societies, pitting citizens against each other. If left to deteriorate and fester it can lead to populist uprisings.
Both sides of the political divide put forward causes and propose solutions. And yet, despite the arguments being well worn, most of the assumptions underpinning these opinions don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Quantitative easing results in increased inequality – well, not necessarily. Globalisation leads to a hollowing out of the working class in developed nations – only in certain parts of the world. Governments enable cronyism to exacerbate wealth disparities – lobbying can constrain competition, but it is unclear whether libertarianism would halt monopolistic practices.
Those vying to shape opinion would have us believe in binary arguments. The problem, as ever, is that this subject is complex with many dynamic variables. It isn’t a question of making targeted policy interventions. A much more holistic and flexible approach is required.
In this interview, I talk to macroeconomist and investment strategist Lyn Alden. We discuss the multi-faceted drivers of wealth inequality, the societal impacts of such disparities, whether we’re on the cusp of another great depression, state-led policies, and whether Bitcoin is a mitigation.