Is creating a more equitable distribution of wealth the most important single issue of our time?

Dear Professor Wolff, I often find myself asking: if I could change one major feature of our country or economy, that would benefit the maximum number of people to the maximum extent, what would it be? I keep coming back to the idea that taking money away from billionaires and distributing it to people in the lower income brackets would go a long way towards making our country more fair in many ways, beyond simply economic concerns. Redistributing wealth taken from billionaires would obviously reduce hunger and lack of access to medical care among people with low incomes. But could it also have more far reaching implications like reducing the influence of powerful interest groups and lobbyists on government decisions? Reducing crime by creating more stable homes and better opportunities for inner city and low income youth? Boost cash-flow for small businesses on Main Street because the masses of people have more disposable income? Stimulate creativity and innovation by reducing stress and exhaustion in those currently working them selves to the bone to make ends meet? Create more time for private citizens to become politically involved to influence government and make decisions that are in the interest of working people and not corporate profits? Of course there are many ways to create policy that would redistribute wealth from the top down. My question is not about how to redistribute wealth, but simply: if wealth was distributed much more equally than it currently is in the United States, would that create profound, deep and far reaching change that would greatly benefit the lives of millions of people?

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  • john kemp
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-07-07 17:32:59 -0400