Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bowles on Inequality and Redistribution

(From now on, all unsigned posts are by Francesc Trillas, Pedja dell'Arno has gone on a busy sabatical far away; going after other occasional writers is time consuming)

Samuel Bowles in The New Economics of Inequality and Redistribution (the preface can be read here) presents a summary of his research on this topic taking advantage of recent developments. The book is a message against egalitarian pessimists, those that in the recent decades have imposed the idea that deep egalitarian reforms are impossible or counterproductive. He accepts that some egalitarian actions from nation states are costly (especially from the demand side) but others are much more promising (especially from the supply side, such as asset redistribution or actions in public education). Redistributing wealth can be positive for productivity because less inputs will be devoted to protecting property rights and because more inputs will be able to participate in innovation and other productive activities. The book is the last one (and the first after the eruption of the 2008 financial crisis) of a series of contributions by Bowles and his co-authors or co-editors (which are listed in the book's list of references) to the topic of inequality and redistribution.

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