Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pyramid Scheme

Elites that have money and cling to it,
While the unemployed life has a sting to it:
The Egyptians' malaise,
Like the US of A's,
Has a most recognizable ring to it.    

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Umair Haque points out the disturbing similarities between the economic circumstances of the Egyptian uprising, and those of the United States today.  Beneath apparent growth and prosperity - as observed from the top of the economic ladder - lies a broader stagnation marked especially by a high rate of youth unemployment.


  1. Really? American academics, well-taken care of but not "rich", smart but surrounded generally by similar-minded smart academics who reinforce their opinions, look out at the stark inequalities of the US and fail to see the differences between it and other cultures.

    Sure, some people reap what seems to others an obscene compensation, but there aren't enough of them to constitute a "class" in a relative sense. Sure, a college degree means you might drive an Audi instead of a Chrysler, or your house might be 500 sqft bigger, but you're still sending your kids to the same reasonably-good suburban public school as everyone else.

    The difference between the US and other countries class "mobility". The "rich" are not the same people generation after generation. Gates's and Zuckerbergs rise from modest beginnings. Kennedys dilute into relevance.

    Most people don't mind class inequality....they mind not having the chance to move up. This is the difference.

  2. Mr. Lawry,

    The differences between the USA and Egypt are many and obvious, but in this respect they have moved closer together: the economy is stagnating for most people, including a large number of unemployed youth. Yes, American wealth is not as dynastic as in some other places, but the fact is (or has become) that 99% of Americans have no real chance of significant upward mobility. Perhaps 0.1% of the country makes it into the echelons of the super-wealthy who have enjoyed most of the economic growth of the last 30 years. Everyone else is running to keep in place.


    Dr. Goose


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