Beyond the Margins 1.0

Nancy Folbre
14 January 2020

With a hat tip to one of the first feminist economics conferences, (“Out of the Margin” in 1993), I’m inaugurating a mini-series on miscellaneous outrages, Beyond the Margins.

Topic of the day is plutocracy, /plo͞oˈtäkrəsē/, government by the wealthy– prompted by a Washington Post article suggesting that Michael Bloomberg is the top choice for a Democratic presidential candidate because he has enough money to win. To wit: “If Democrats nominate anyone besides Bloomberg, they will be outspent in the general election by 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1. If they nominate Bloomberg, he will outspend Trump at least 5 to 1 and dramatically improve the party’s chances of winning seats at every level of governance.”

I went rushing to the Wall Street Journal to check out their opinion, but was distracted by two unrelated articles, “Six New Hotels to Try in the French Alps” and “So You Want to Own a Sports Team.” Sadly for you, my readers, these articles are behind a pay wall.

A report from Oxfam (nicely summarized here) estimates that the world’s richest people own as much wealth as the poorest 50%. The report also estimates that a wealth tax on the top 1% would raise an estimated $418 billion a year – enough to educate every child not in school and provide healthcare that would prevent 3 million deaths.

Just some little details that economists might want to insert into their social welfare functions or even their moral calculus…

P.S. Wall Street journal reports on January 17, 2020 that Michael Bloomberg has spend roughly three-quarters of the amount spent by ALL OTHER PRESIDENTIAL campaigns combined on advertisements.


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