Over the past generation, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny elite in the U.S. has grown at an astonishing rate. Today, a mere 1% of the population controls 40% of the national wealth, an all-time record. This concentration of wealth has also resulted in a concentration of political power, and this concentration of wealth and political power has brought us to what is being called plutonomy: an economy powered solely by and solely for the wealthy. The "average American" consumer no longer exists.
In this talk, Paul George, Director of Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, will examine how this concentration of wealth and power came to be. (Unsurprisingly, it was not by accident.) He will explore what it means for a supposedly democratic society. Finally, he will propose some ways in which we might begin to reverse course. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis noted, "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."