Monday, December 27, 2010

Time to tweak Marx's class analysis?

I've got a commie pal who says it's wrong to begrudge sports stars their super salaries: they don't control the means of production, so they might as well take what they can from the bosses.

But as the economic income and wealth gap increases, I'm wondering if Marx's three main classes (bourgeoisie, petit bourgeoisie, proletarian) need a fourth: the gros proletariat, the workers with super-salaries.


Nah. Workers with super-salaries buy stocks, land, businesses... The logic of capitalism forces them to become petit-bourgeoisie. That's how the game is played.

So, uh, nevermind. Just thinking on my keyboard.

Here's what provoked it:

Income Inequality and the 'Superstar Effect' -
Ultimately, the question is this: How much inequality is necessary? It is true that the nation grew quite fast as inequality soared over the last three decades. Since 1980, the country’s gross domestic product per person has increased about 69 percent, even as the share of income accruing to the richest 1 percent of the population jumped to 36 percent from 22 percent. But the economy grew even faster — 83 percent per capita — from 1951 to 1980, when inequality declined when measured as the share of national income going to the very top of the population.

One study concluded that each percentage-point increase in the share of national income channeled to the top 10 percent of Americans since 1960 led to an increase of 0.12 percentage points in the annual rate of economic growth — hardly an enormous boost. The cost for this tonic seems to be a drastic decline in Americans’ economic mobility. Since 1980, the weekly wage of the average worker on the factory floor has increased little more than 3 percent, after inflation.