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Bill McKibben, Jeremy Rifkin on Deep Economy, Efficiency

Two interesting selections from McKibben’s Deep Economy:

[]…the U.S. Gini coefficient has risen steadily since the late 1960s, to the point where many economists believe wealth is more stratified today than any time since the Gilded Age. And that Gini gap will continue to grow: the 2006 round of tax cuts delivers 70 percent of its benefits to the richest 5 percent of Americans, and 6.5 percent to the bottom 80 percent.
Economists can’t explain all the underlying reasons for this spreading gap. The decline of unions had something to do with it, and so did the advent of computerization…[]

He doesnt highlight or mention computerization again. But in the light of this followup:

…as Jeremy Rifkin observes, the efficiency revolution encompassed everything, not just factory work but homemaking, schoolteaching, and all the other tasks of modern life: “efficiency became the ultimate tool for exploiting both the earth’s resources in order to advance material wealth and human progress.”

…it seems that hidden in the social analysis is a technocratic one: computerization and the move towards efficiency as a social more has some relationship to the spread of the US Gini Coefficient. (the measure of income inequality across a society). The extent of this relationship is even more unexamined than most pop-sci socio-economic analysis. so… ???? The full excerpt is here.

October 24, 2008
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