Monday, December 05, 2005

The New Rich-Rich Gap

The New Rich-Rich Gap by Robert B. Reich:

In recent years, the top fifth of American workers has held 85 percent of the country's wealth. What I didn't predict was that the three tiers would change shape so dramatically. The top and bottom tiers are growing, and the middle shrinking, much faster than I expected. Symbolic analysts now make up more than a fifth of all jobs in advanced economies, up from about 15 percent 15 years ago. Their incomes in developing economies are soaring, relative to other workers'. In China, the wealthiest 5 percent now control half of all bank deposits. India's symbolic analysts are becoming a new national elite.
Yet unless the advanced economies invest more in education and basic R&D, they could lose their global lead in science, engineering and high-value-added production within a few decades. China and India are now graduating more engineers and computer scientists than are emerging from American and European universities. At some point, national symbolic analysts in advanced economies will lose ground.

The changes are happening much faster than I thought they would. And I think the predictability of what will happen going forward is becoming much more difficult. The system has a capacity for huge and rapid change.

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