I would like your opinion on economist Kevin Hassett's theory that inequality is not rising.

I read this article https://qz.com/921204/trumps-chief-economist-kevin-hassett-doesnt-think-economic-inequality-is-an-issue/ Have you read his work? Can you explain it further? It doesn't make sense to me.

Official response from submitted

I have encountered his work. Its like many other such researchers who build reputations by arguing against a broad consensus. On the one hand, analyses of inequality - like anything else- depend on the theories and measuring rods used to conduct the analyses. Different theories and measurement tools will yield different results/conclusions. By the way, that is the reason honest economics departments would always include neoclassical, Keynesian and Marxian economists (the three major different theories now in economics) so students could learn to understand and use the available alternative theories and modes of measurement. Columbia University and Prof Hassett do not criticize the absence of such an environment in Columbia University.

So Hassett quarrels with the measurements that underpin the consensus view - which I share - that inequality has been rising. Members of the consensus have, in their turn, criticized the alternative measures Hassett favors and on that basis rejected his claims.

There are almost always such competing theories, measurements and claims based upon them. But often the individuals who quarrel with the consensus cannot get the attention to become widely known; often they and their work are ignored or repressed. The deepening crisis of global capitalism has disrupted the dominance of a middle of the road consensus in politics and economics so that non-consensus or non-mainstream or heterodox perspectives can get a hearing. Hassett achieves that now by associating himself with Trump; before he got less attention but still some as a professor in a prestigious university.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-03-04 16:06:35 -0500
  • Kathy Freeman
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-03-02 13:41:43 -0500