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Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don't Realize It)

Stashed in: Wealth!, America!, Psychology!

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Dan Ariely explains wealth inequality and designs a couple of simple experiments to see how much wealth equality Americans would choose if they could. Surprising results ensue! This article actually gave me a more hopeful feeling about Americans' basic fairness.

"There are a few lessons that we can learn from this. The first is that we vastly underestimate the level of inequality that we have in America. Our society is far more uneven in terms of wealth than we believe it is. Second, we want much more equality than both what we have and what we think we have. Apparently, when asked in a way that avoids hot-button terms, misconceptions, and the level of wealth people currently possess, Americans are actually in agreement about wanting a more equal distribution of wealth. In fact, the vast majority of Americans prefer a distribution of wealth more equal than what exists in Sweden, which is often placed rhetorically at the extreme far left in terms of political ideology--embraced by liberals as an ideal society and disparaged by conservatives as an overreaching socialist nanny state."

It's all about what language people use.

I believe that Fox News can make half of Americans want anything by choosing loaded words.

Thanks for posting this article; it shows me that with the right word choices people can understand what's actually going on.

There's one thing about this analysis that bothers me.

The top quintile owns 84% of the wealth in America, but most of that wealth is in the top 1%.

Seems like a false lumping to put the people in the top 20% alongside the people in the top 1%.

Good point.

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