Wealth Inequality in a Capitalist Society -Prabhat Patnaik

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published Published on Nov 6, 2020   modified Modified on Nov 6, 2020

-Newsclick.in

Two taxes – inheritance and wealth -- alone, levied only on the top 1% of the population, would be enough to fetch Rs.14.67 lakh crore.

It is often believed that the ability to pass on property to one’s progeny is an essential element of capitalism, without which the capitalists’ incentives will dry up and the system will lose its dynamism. Nothing could be further from the truth; indeed the acquisition of property through inheritance is contrary to the bourgeois justification for capitalist property.

This justification lies in the claim that the capitalists have some special quality that is rare, whose employment makes the nation prosperous and for which they must be rewarded. But there is no unanimity among bourgeois spokesmen on what exactly this special quality is.

This quality cannot consist in their supervising the process of production, for such supervision is typically exercised by salaried personnel who are at best superior workers; they get a salary and not profits (unless they also happen to own some property in the form of shares). It is in recognition of this fact that John Kenneth Galbraith had talked of firms being run not by the capitalists but by what he called the “technostructure”.

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Newsclick.in, 6 November, 2020, https://www.newsclick.in/wealth-inequality-in-a-capitalist-society?fbclid=IwAR2ctkuqx2eB49-g8rVunOQHPfkdZiUEQtpDB8envZGAzASZRVBjkpGdcIY


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