Through the Eyes of Yankelovich
In the coming months, people in America and Japan should expect a lot of discussion on a topic that may at first glance seem like technical economics, but is in fact a red-hot political issue whose consequences are hard to exaggerate.
The topic is whether or not our capitalist systems are undergoing a lasting structural change. Are we inadvertently shifting from forms of capitalism that are compatible with political democracy to forms that are undemocratic?
The American public is most familiar with the “rising tide raises all boats” form of capitalism – the most democratic of its forms. Economic growth benefits the majority of participants. Income levels rise for all demographic groups. Political stability prevails.
This form of capitalism has proven successful in the United States because average Americans are not opposed in principle to gross inequalities of income, as long as they have a fair chance to improve life for themselves and their families.
However, there is mounting evidence that this necessary condition for public approval no longer prevails in the United States. Those at the top are doing extremely well. But incomes at all other levels, especially at the bottom, are stagnant or declining. It has become a truism that the American middle class is being hollowed out. tj
The complete article can be found in Issue #274 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.