A radical change as is suggested by Atkinson has the potential to drastically change the course of the current economic situation of inequality; however, the fallout of such a change could create further inequality in the United States. The reason I say this is that our current diverse economic systems (since as in the United States I don’t see where we conform to a single system but a marriage of a variety of systems created all its own as one) would have to conform and contort itself to fit this model. It is the diversity of our economic system that has allowed the rise and decline of our economy. We adapt and overcome and allow a small portion of our society to then break free of the economic inequality. It allows the underdogs to rise and the major big hitters to fall or accept the rising underdog.
An example of Atkinson’s suggestion (and that of many others) would be to make the richer pay higher taxes to close the gap of income inequality. Of course the extra income would be put back into government circulation to put more money in public services purses, however, we are than punishing the more economically successful for obtaining more than the disadvantaged. As much as I agree with this hypothesis, I disagree with it. I fully support and agree with aid, but it is highly abused in the US. I am not referring to Social Security and Medicare programs; I am primarily referring to the obvious more abused programs, which I will not name for arguments sake. Here’s a thought, what about instead of taxing bigger businesses the additional 35% or so suggested a law is set to subsidize the income, success, and/or business they are taking from smaller businesses unless they pay a portion of advertising or assistance to the smaller businesses they are competing with? Especially to those they have put out of business. Instead of the government paying for support programs to small businesses and independent business owners lets allow our diverse economy to work for itself, lets allow the rich to give back by voluntarily donating a portion of their success rather than further tax them. Close the gap in a way that allows the underdog to compete to be successful. This coupled with the “the establishment of a national savings program allowing each depositor to receive a guaranteed return on her capital (below a certain threshold of individual capital)” should definitely clear the further defined problem of “In Atkinson’s view, it is intimately bound up with the larger issue of a new approach to public property and the possible development of a new form of sovereign wealth fund. The public authority cannot resign itself merely to go on piling up debt and endlessly privatizing everything it possesses.”
Atkinson proposed a lot of great ideas, especially for Great Britain. More importantly he instigates new ideas for the American economy that can be used and utilized if done so moderately, carefully and with the full understanding that completely dumping our current practices can disturb the system to further the economic gap.
In listening to the TED Talk and reading about the detrimental outcomes of what economic inequality does to life expectancy and the various social problems in society I have to ask, does the US have the worst statistics as far as obesity, mental illness, social anxiety and stressors due to social inequality or is all this due to our freedom? And is the social inequality a direct result of our same freedom we fight to continue to retain? A free society allows for the people to decide how and what will be the future. This same freedom if not monitored and predicted can also be our demise. Of course the richer you are the less stressed and better life you will have, that goes without saying, money can’t buy you happiness but sure is a relief when you have plenty of it. Inequality drives people to work harder (or most normal people), if you don’t have a goal to reach than you lack a purpose, and a person without a purpose is bored and a most dangerous threat in my opinion.