The Inequality Map –

11 Nov

This is an amusing piece by David Brooks. As you can see, it takes the form of advice to a foreigner about what kinds of inequality are acceptably displayed in America and what kinds must be hidden. On a quick read the advice appears to be reasonable. And so Brooks opens:

Foreign tourists are coming up to me on the streets and asking, “David, you have so many different kinds of inequality in your country. How can I tell which are socially acceptable and which are not?”

After cruising through this that and the other, Brooks gets to the what surely is the heart of the piece:

Income inequality is acceptable. If you are a star baseball player, it is socially acceptable to sell your services for $25 million per year (after all, you have to do what’s best for your family). If you are a star C.E.O., it’s no longer quite polite to receive an $18 million compensation package, but everybody who can still does it

That, of course, is NOT what the Occupy Wallstreeters are saying. Notice how he defuses the issue. His first and primary example is that of a star athlete. Everyone knows the best of the best get paid outlandish sums of money, and everyone knows THAT’s not what’s being protested. It’s the corporate CEOs—thanks for mentioning one, David—and bankers. And what’s bothersome is not simply the huge sums of money, but the sense that it’s not earned. What’s bothersome is that these folks have distorted the system so they get piles and piles of loot without really earning it. But then, Brooks doesn’t want us to think about THAT, does he? No the whole purpose of this piece is to make us forget that.

Then more examples of this and that until Brooks reaches his acceptably bland conclusion:

Dear visitor, we are a democratic, egalitarian people who spend our days desperately trying to climb over each other. Have a nice stay.

That is, just business as usual. NOT. Business as usual is NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE. Deal with it, Mr. David “Flim Flam Man” Brooks. And have a nice day.

via The Inequality Map –


2 Responses to “The Inequality Map –”

  1. charles keil November 13, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    I’d like to send everyone who reads Brooks over to our DECLARATION of Interdependence page. Egalitarianism is in our tradition! But the 99% to 1% story is true, or was true a few months ago. By now it is the 99.9 % who are losing (the diversity of species, the diversity of cultures, the possibility of a sustainable future for their great grandchildren) and the .1% who are piling up the chips in the absurd and obscene gambling casino that global capitalism has become.

  2. kubla November 13, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    Declaration link:

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