It’s astonishing that people can be this damn ignorant about the past:
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, despite the fact that eastern European states have became wealthier, the poor in these states have become poorer and the rich richer. In the 1980s, the total earnings of the poorer half of east Europeans was equivalent to 25-35% of national income. Since the end of communism, this figure has dropped to 17% in some countries. The most unequal country in the region is Russia, where the richest 1% now earns 27% of national income – a dramatic increase from 3.5% before the fall of the iron curtain.
What actually is wealth? It’s that stock of power over the resources of the society. Jeff Bezos has a pile of money ever so tall, $100 billion high. That means he can, if he so wishes, cash it all in and direct about half a percent of current US economic activity.
It’s a $20 trillion economy, he’s got $100 billion, he gets to, if he so wishes, tell that half a percent of the economy what to do by paying it to do it. Once only he gets to do that.
OK, so Russia today, the 1% get to do that with 27% of the economy. And the top peeps in the Communist Party controlled the resources of how much of the economy? 100% perhaps?
And someone wants to claim that inequality is higher today?
OK, perhaps we should measure this in a different manner, consumption. Who got all the nice flats in the middle of town? The meat that wasn’t rotten or cut with a chainsaw? The car and driver? The holiday on the Black Sea? It wasn’t your average proletarian now, was it? Nope, it was the vanguard.
And how was all that consumption allocated? It wasn’t through the price system was it? Therefore looking at monetary income isn’t a useful measure of inequality, is it?
Jeez, the stupidity of the comparison. Using the price system to measure in a society not run through the price system?