I’m still a couch potato, box of tissues close at hand. So I’m watching stuff my Tivo thought I might want to see, which happened to include the old Bond film Thunderball.
And I found myself thinking about inequality.
You see, there’s a scene early in the movie when the minions of SPECTRE, the evil conspiracy, are shown reporting on their profits from dastardly activities. And the numbers are … ludicrously small. I know that’s a running gag in Austin Powers, But it’s true, it’s true!
Even the big one — demanding a ransom for two stolen nuclear warheads — is 100 million pounds, $280 million. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $2 billion — or one-eighth of the Goldman Sachs bonus pool.
It’s just an indicator of how huge top incomes have become that what were once viewed as impressive numbers, the kind of thing only arch-villains might demand, now look trivial. Or maybe the other way to look at it is that we have a lot more arch-villains around than we used to. - Paul Krugman
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