The Instability of Inequality by Nouriel Roubini, Or, What Is Stirring in the Working and Middle Classes around the World?

The essay, The Instability of Inequality, appeared back in October just after the beginning of the occupation of Zuccotti Park in NYC and the rapid spread of the Occupy Movement nationwide. As Chairman of Roubini Global Economics, and as Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University Mr. Roubini often takes a global view of the day’s events, taking in the broad ranging threads of history and place that cast their influence on societies and their economies. This essay is no exception.

It has been long understood that inequality tends toward instability. Inequality in opportunity, income and wealth, corruption, unemployment and underemployment are all factors found at the root of the civil unrest that has spread across the Middle East, in Europe, and the US, much of the world in fact with students in Chile and workers in India and in China agitating against conditions that make their lives and futures increasingly tenuous.

Liberal democracies that adopt policies that make for a strong middle class and a level playing field of opportunity, while providing a strong safety net to catch those that feel the upsets of economic fluctuations have tools to maintain stable societies if there is the political will to use them. In today’s world of outsized corporate dominance of the liberal democracies that now exist unrest is increasing because the stabilizing factors are falling to the rent-seeking, profit-taking priorities of corporations. If it continues, it cannot end well.

“Any economic model that does not properly address inequality will eventually face a crisis of legitimacy. Unless the relative economic roles of the market and the state are rebalanced, the protests of 2011 will become more severe, with social and political instability eventually harming long-term economic growth and welfare.” Nouriel Roubini

This just landed in my email box as I finished this posting and relates inequality with the instability in financial markets:


About sdemetri
Portland, Maine freelance photographer, writer, activist

One Response to The Instability of Inequality by Nouriel Roubini, Or, What Is Stirring in the Working and Middle Classes around the World?

  1. Pingback: On Breaking the Power of the 1% « An Occupied Blog by Steve Demetriou

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: