What’s Wrong With Inequality?

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 9 2011 @ 9:56am

Jared Bernstein worries about growing income disparities. Chris Bickerton and Alex Gourevitch think the problem is deeper:

There is no single view on economic inequality at Occupy Wall Street or elsewhere, but it is clear that the concern is with a wider form of inequality than mere earning power.

The ability to meet basic needs is of course important, and is why pushing back against housing and student debt has been a recurring theme. But the relevant inequalities are of social and political power more widely. One sees demands for transforming work, for ending corporations, for real democracy and political equality, for socializing the means of production and for anarchist productive collectives. Some of these demands are contradictory, others downright undesirable. But they have in common the view that the inequality problem here is more fundamental than mere differences in income. Even income inequality itself tends to be seen as a consequence of differences in social and economic power.