Income inequality is a hot topic among intellectuals. You've got Thomas Piketty's new book this month. You've got a new think tank this year, The Washington Center for Equitable Growth, founded to accelerate cutting-edge analysis into whether and how structural changes in the U.S. economy, particularly related to economic inequality, affect economic growth.
In more mainstream culture, one of the most popular songs of the year was a class-conscious tune by Lorde called "Royals":
I've never seen a diamond in the flesh
I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies
And I'm not proud of my address
In the torn up town, no post code envy
But everybody's like:
Diamonds on your timepiece
Tigers on a gold leash
We don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair
And we'll never be royals (royals)
It don't run in our blood
That kind of lux just ain't for us, we crave a different kind of buzz
If Lorde is celebrating non-rich people's sense of fun and trashing pop culture's obsession with wealth, Alex Proud in the Telegraph takes things a step further and tells us that rich people are uncool and turning one of the best cities in the world into a boring, cultureless, rich zone:
the financiers who can afford inner London neighbourhoods are not cool. Visit Canary Wharf on any weekday lunchtime and watch the braying, pink-shirted bankers disporting themselves. Not cool. Peruse the shops at Canary Wharf. From Gap to Tiffany’s, they’re all chains stores and you could be anywhere wealthy, safe and dull in the world. Rich people like making money and spending it on dull, expensive things. That’s what they do – and they’re very good it. But being a high-end cog in the machine is not cool.
If any country actually takes on the issue of income/wealth inequality, we'll see if intellectual tomes about a return to the Guilded Age are an important factor or whether pop culture figures attacking the wealthy as the suckage has more of an effect.