You Say You Want a Revolution
Incomes declining or stagnant for the vast majority in “rich” countries
"The impact [of declining earning power for large swaths of the population] could be more than purely economic if the disconnect between GDP growth and income growth persists.” In the cautious bureaucratic jargon of the McKinsey researchers, “more than purely economic” carries a freight load of meaning: it signifies the recognition by this think tank that the deterioration of working-class living standards has revolutionary implications.
Inequality both within and between countries has widened since about 1980, the time that neoliberalism really began to take off under Reagan, Thatcher, and Kohl. In spite of this, world leaders often defend this ideology and the inequality that it creates. Thatcher once quipped, for example, that “It is our job to glory in inequality, and see that talents and abilities are given vent and expression for the benefit of us all” (Lean and Cooper 1996:52). By such statements, leaders not only recognize the link between neoliberalism and inequality, they also legitimize it and present it as being both universal and normative.