Mhm, te stvari so nepredstavljive za Evropo. Si predstavljate, da bi guverner ECB Mario Draghi ali guverner kakšne druge nacionalne centralne banke prišel na konferenco o neenakosti in v zelo dobro argumentiranem referatu omenil, da ga skrbi pretirana rast neenakosti? Si predstavljate naše okravatene in zategnjene centralne bankirje, ki govorijo ljudem nerazumljiv tehnični jezik, poln kratic, kot so LTRO, LTRM, OMT itd. in jih zanima samo “zasidranost inflacijskih pričakovanj“, da bi se spustili na polje (ne)enakomernosti porazdelitve dohodkov med ljudstvom in predlagali, da je treba spremeniti način financiranja dostopa do šolskih storitev? Ne, seveda ne. (*)
No, Janet Yellen, predsednica Fed, je danes na konferenci bostonskega Fed z naslovom Inequality of Economic Opportunity naredila točno to. V uvodnem referatu je secirala razvoj ameriške neenakosti v zadnjih desetletjih in dostop do izobraževanja ter povedala, da jo to skrbi. Zakaj? In zakaj bi to sploh moralo skrbeti Fed?
Na kratko: ker povečana neenakost zmanjšuje enakost možnosti in preprečuje socialno mobilnost, s tem pa zaradi podoptimalnega izkoriščanja človeških virov, ki se ne morejo v polnosti razviti, zmanjšuje dolgoročno gospodarsko rast. To pa je tisto, kar skrbi Fed.
Za tiste, ki morda ne razumejo: govor Yellenove pomeni uradni napad na ameriški liberalizem (tipa Greenspan-Ayn Rand), ki je v zagovarjanju ekonomske svobode in svobode izbire očitno zaribal. Gre za sistem, kjer lahko načeloma svobodno izbiraš, vendar ne moreš izbrati, če nimaš denarja.
Nekaj kratkih poudarkov iz govora Janet Yellen (vendar preberite celoten referat).
Tukaj so na voljo slike iz prezentacije.
While the recent trend of widening income and wealth inequality is clear, the implications for a particular family partly depend on whether that family’s living standards are rising or not as its relative position changes. There have been some times of relative prosperity when income has grown for most households but inequality widened because the gains were proportionally larger for those at the top; widening inequality might not be as great a concern if living standards improve for most families. That was the case for much of the 1990s, when real incomes were rising for most households. At other times, however, inequality has widened because income and wealth grew for those at the top and stagnated or fell for others. And at still other times, inequality has widened when incomes were falling for most households, but the declines toward the bottom were proportionally larger. Unfortunately, the past several decades of widening inequality has often involved stagnant or falling living standards for many families.
Since the survey began in its current form in 1989, the SCF has shown a rise in the concentration of income in the top few percent of households, as shown in figure 1.6 By definition, of course, the share of all income held by the rest, the vast majority of households, has fallen by the same amount.7 This concentration was the result of income and living standards rising much more quickly for those at the top. After adjusting for inflation, the average income of the top 5 percent of households grew by 38 percent from 1989 to 2013, as we can see in figure 2. By comparison, the average real income of the other 95 percent of households grew less than 10 percent. Income inequality narrowed slightly during the Great Recession, as income fell more for the top than for others, but resumed widening in the recovery, and by 2013 it had nearly returned to the pre-recession peak.8
The distribution of wealth is even more unequal than that of income, and the SCF shows that wealth inequality has increased more than income inequality since 1989. As shown in figure 3, the wealthiest 5 percent of American households held 54 percent of all wealth reported in the 1989 survey. Their share rose to 61 percent in 2010 and reached 63 percent in 2013. By contrast, the rest of those in the top half of the wealth distribution–families that in 2013 had a net worth between $81,000 and $1.9 million–held 43 percent of wealth in 1989 and only 36 percent in 2013.
The lower half of households by wealth held just 3 percent of wealth in 1989 and only 1 percent in 2013. To put that in perspective, figure 4 shows that the average net worth of the lower half of the distribution, representing 62 million households, was $11,000 in 2013.9 About one-fourth of these families reported zero wealth or negative net worth, and a significant fraction of those said they were “underwater” on their home mortgages, owing more than the value of the home.10 This $11,000 average is 50 percent lower than the average wealth of the lower half of families in 1989, adjusted for inflation. Average real wealth rose gradually for these families for most of those years, then dropped sharply after 2007. Figure 5 shows that average wealth also grew steadily for the “next 45” percent of households before the crisis but didn’t fall nearly as much afterward. Those next 45 households saw their wealth, measured in 2013 dollars, grow from an average of $323,000 in 1989 to $516,000 in 2007 and then fall to $424,000 in 2013, a net gain of about one-third over 24 years. Meanwhile, the average real wealth of families in the top 5 percent has nearly doubled, on net–from $3.6 million in 1989 to $6.8 million in 2013.
Temeljni kamni priložnosti:
An important factor influencing intergenerational mobility and trends in inequality over time is economic opportunity. While we can measure overall mobility and inequality, summarizing opportunity is harder, which is why I intend to focus on some important sources of opportunity–the four building blocks I mentioned earlier.
Two of those are so significant that you might call them “cornerstones” of opportunity, and you will not be surprised to hear that both are largely related to education. The first of these cornerstones I would describe more fully as “resources available to children in their most formative years.” The second is higher education that students and their families can afford.
Two additional sources of opportunity are evident in the SCF. They affect fewer families than the two cornerstones I have just identified, but enough families and to a sufficient extent that I believe they are also important sources of economic opportunity.
The third building block of opportunity, as shown by the SCF, is ownership of a private business.18 This usually means ownership and sometimes direct management of a family business. The fourth source of opportunity is inherited wealth. As one would expect, inheritances are concentrated among the wealthiest families, but the SCF indicates they may also play an important role in the opportunities available to others.
In closing, let me say that, with these examples, I have only just touched the surface of the important topic of economic opportunity, and I look forward to learning more from the work presented at this conference. As I noted at the outset, research about the causes and implications of inequality is ongoing, and I hope that this conference helps spur further study of economic opportunity and its effects on economic mobility. Using the SCF and other sources, I have tried to offer some observations about how access to four specific sources of opportunity may vary across households, but I cannot offer any conclusions about how much these factors influence income and wealth inequality. I do believe that these are important questions, and I hope that further research will help answer them.
Vir: Janet Yellen, FRB
* Seveda pa je treba omeniti, da je v Evropi neenakost v večini držav bistveno manjša kot v ZDA, dostop do izobraževanja pa lažji in cenejši, zato omejena socialna mobilnost ni tako problematična iz vidika potencialne rasti.