Can America Be Fixed?
The New Crisis of Democracy
Capitalism and Inequality
What the Right and the Left Get Wrong
Why a Founding Father of Postwar Capitalism Spied for the Soviets
A Conversation With Stanley McChrystal
The Rise of Big Data
How It's Changing the Way We Think About the World
The Road to D-Day
Behind the Battle That Won the War
How Jewish Extremism Threatens Zionism
Who Is Ali Khamenei?
The Worldview of Iran’s Supreme Leader
Biology's Brave New World
The Promise and Perils of the Synbio Revolution
Google's Original X-Man
A Conversation With Sebastian Thrun
Making Sense of Mali
The Real Stakes of the War Rocking West Africa
Saving the Euro, Dividing the Union
Could Europe's Deeper Integration Push the United Kingdom Out?
The Real Reason Putin Supports Assad
Mistaking Syria for Chechnya
How Iran Won the War on Drugs
Lessons for Fighting the Afghan Narcotics Trade
The Egyptian State Unravels
Meet the Gangs and Vigilantes Who Thrive Under Morsi
Even Good Coups Are Bad
Lessons for Egypt from the Philippines, Venezuela, and Beyond
How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry
Farming Qat, Wasting Water
The Arab Sunset
The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies
Where Have All the Workers Gone?
China's Labor Shortage and the End of the Panda Boom
Love in the Time of Bollywood
India's Strained Romance Revolution
Recent political debate in the United States and other advanced capitalist democracies has been dominated by two issues: the rise of economic inequality and the scale of government intervention to address it. As the 2012 U.S. presidential election and the battles over the "fiscal cliff" have demonstrated, the central focus of the left today is on increasing government taxing and spending, primarily to reverse the growing stratification of society, whereas the central focus of the right is on decreasing taxing and spending, primarily to ensure economic dynamism. Each side minimizes the concerns of the other, and each seems to believe that its desired policies are sufficient to ensure prosperity and social stability. Both are wrong.
Inequality is indeed increasing almost everywhere in the postindustrial capitalist world. But despite what many on the left think, this is not the result of politics, nor is politics likely to reverse it, for the problem is more deeply rooted and intractable than generally recognized. Inequality is an inevitable product of capitalist activity, and expanding equality of opportunity only increases it -- because some individuals and communities are simply better able than others to exploit the opportunities for development and advancement that capitalism affords. Despite what many on the right think, however, this is a problem for everybody, not just those who are doing poorly or those who are ideologically committed to egalitarianism -- because if left unaddressed, rising inequality and economic insecurity can erode social order and generate a populist backlash against the capitalist system at large.
Over the last few centuries, the spread of capitalism has generated a phenomenal leap in human progress, leading to both previously unimaginable increases in material living standards and the unprecedented cultivation of all kinds of human potential. Capitalism's intrinsic dynamism, however, produces insecurity along with benefits, and so its advance has always met resistance. Much of the political and institutional history of capitalist societies, in fact, has been the record of attempts to ease or cushion that insecurity,
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