133. 150 year old solutions to much older problems
Inequality is one of our major social challenges nowadays. The political turmoil agitating our societies today is a direct consequence of it. In fact, inequality is nothing new, humanity has lived with it for centuries, at many times graver than currently. But, alas, as we grew wealthier in the last century, there was hope that we may start to address it, that mindless accumulation of profits would be superseded by more lofty objectives and focuses from the powerful and the mighty. It is interesting, revisiting John Stuart Mill in the last few days, to note that he was already, 150 years ago, preoccupied with the same issues and also that his blueprint for solving them, and his actual expectation of the evolution of capitalism, remains relevant today. It seems that, in socio political terms, we have made little progress since the Victorians. His recipe? Higher inheritance taxation and workers cooperatives competing in a capitalist system with private enterprises. Would they work today?
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