Thursday, August 20, 2009

Insecurity for most? -- UPDATED

Check this out -- Simon Johnson on the NYT Economix blog: "The Two-Track Economy: Inequality emerging from today's recession."

Here's what I've most feared, watching the economy slid rapidly and now "recover:" a permanent shift to a divided U.S., in which the very elite are cut loose from the common good.

Johnson's global perspective should give us pause.

UPDATE: I first put in Johnson's title, mistakenly, as the "two-tier economy." His word, "track," is important, as he's pointing out not simply the way things are, which is true enough, but a developing dynamic (for the worse).

Friday 8/21 UPDATE: Others are seeing some brakes on the "runaway train" story in today's NYTimes: Leonhardt and Fabrikant, "Rise of the Super-Rich Hits a Sobering Wall." But note this early caveat:
Few economists expect the country to return to the relatively flat income distribution of the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, they say that inequality is likely to remain significantly greater than it was for most of the 20th century.
The hook through this piece is the story of the creator of McAfee computer security. But the interest for me is in the underlying story of boom-bust cycles that are simply froth, unrelated to real structural economic strength.