That was at a time when incomes for the top 10% have doubled and those of the top 1% have tripled.[i] As shown in the chart to the right, the percentage of children who grow up to earn more than their parents has fallen from 90% in 1970 to 50% today. For most of those in the lower 60%, the prospects are worse.
As shown below, the income gap is about as high as ever and the wealth gap is the highest since the late 1930s.
That was the concept of equal opportunity, which most people believed to be both fair and productive.
I suppose I became a capitalist at age 12 because that’s when I took the money I earned from doing various jobs like delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, and caddying, and put it in the stock market when the stock market was hot in the 1960s. I went to college and graduate school even though I didn’t have enough money to pay the tuitions because I could borrow the money from a government student loan program.
Before I explain why I believe that capitalism needs to be reformed, I will explain where I’m coming from, which has shaped my perspective.
I will then show the indicators that make it clear to me that the outcomes capitalism is producing are inconsistent with what I believe our goals are.
If you’d like to see a summary of my research that shows what makes countries succeed and fail, it’s here (link).
In a nutshell, poor education, a poor culture (one that impedes people from operating effectively together), poor infrastructure, and too much debt cause bad economic results.
I was fortunate enough to be raised in a middle-class family by parents who took good care of me, to go to good public schools, and to come into a job market that offered me equal opportunity.
I was raised with the belief that having equal opportunity to have basic care, good education, and employment is what is fair and best for our collective well-being.