Does anyone care about distribution?

As the discussion over Thomas Piketty’s new book has expanded, the argument has occasionally been made that concern about inequality is essentially an elite phenomenon. Rich folks in rich cities are devouring and debating the Piketty book, while the rest of the rich world goes on about its business, more worried about jobs and wages than distribuition. Is that right?

Paul Krugman noted in a recent blog post that readers seem much more enthusiastic about his inequality columns than those on let’s-boost-growth macro pieces. Tyler Cowen responds:

I see the inequality issue as having high salience for NYT readers, for Democratic Party donors, and for progressive activists. It has very little salience for the American public, especially with say swing voters in southern Ohio or soccer moms. Unlike in Singapore or South Korea, where the major concentrations of wealth are pretty hard to avoid for most people, American income inequalities are well hidden for the most part.

McLean is one of the wealthiest towns in Virginia,…Continue reading

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