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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What’s a fair wealth distribution?


I have written on a couple of occasions about the issue of intergenerational fairness. The last time was in response to a particularly daft article in The Observer.

Once I can get some time I want to read David Willett’s book, The Pinch, that is all about this subject. Yesterday, the author was speaking the LSE about the plight of younger people and their inability to mirror the wealth of their parents and grandparents.

The graphic is taken from this session.

A question that I wish somebody would answer is if the wealth distribution is unfair – what would be a ‘fair’ distribution?

Of course I don’t expect anybody to answer this question, so let me ask a harder one. If there is zero inflation then you probably could hazard a guess at the answer, unfortunately inflation varies and nobody living to day has a clue what it will be in five years time.

So, let’s say we have period of very high inflation (yesterday UK inflation hit 3.5%). When I was 26 the UK inflation rate hit 25%. An older person, who has not source of income and is dependant on their wealth to fund the rest of their life, was seeing it evaporate in front of their eyes.

So I ask the question again, considering that nobody has the foggiest idea what inflation will be in the future – what is a fair distribution of the wealth today. Dick Stroud

1 comment:

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Dick,

I appreciate your post, it gives us much to think about. I think you're right that no one knows what the future holds. Let's just hope inflation stays away for a while!