90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Economist Tyler Cowen On The End Of Average

American inequality grows again. Economist Tyler Cowen says it’s going to change us, and describes how.

In this Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, protestors demonstrate outside a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles. Thousands of fast-food workers and their supporters have been staging protests across the country to call attention to the struggles of living on or close to the federal minimum wage. (AP)

In this Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, protestors demonstrate outside a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles. Thousands of fast-food workers and their supporters have been staging protests across the country to call attention to the struggles of living on or close to the federal minimum wage. (AP)

US inequality is hitting record highs again, we learned last week.  Higher than Gatsby levels.  The USA pins the needle for inequality globally.  Higher than China.  Higher than India.  Americans have generally been unruffled by that, but then the 20th Century brought our greatest time of equality.  In this century, says my guest economist Tyler Cowen, inequality will explode in the US.  You’ll be rich or you’ll be Mexico-style poor.  He’s OK with that.  Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz is not.  They’re both with us.  Up next On Point:  equality and inequality in America.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tyler Cowen, Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, co-author of economics blog Marginal Revolution and author of “Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation” and many other books. (@TylerCowen)

Joseph Stiglitz,  Economist and professor at Columbia University, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001, former senior vice president and chief economist at the World Bank and author of “The Price of Inequality” and “Making Globalization Work.”

From Tom’s Reading List

NPR: Tired of Inequality? One Economist Says It’ll Only Get Worse – “It’s a radical change from the America of 40 or 50 years ago. Cowen believes the wealthy will become more numerous, and even more powerful. The elderly will hold on to their benefits … the young, not so much. Millions of people who might have expected a middle class existence may have to aspire to something else.”
Washington Post: Gap in employment rates between rich, poor at widest levels in records dating back a decade — “The gap in employment rates between America’s highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since officials began tracking the data a decade ago, according to an analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press. Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families — those earning less than $20,000 — have topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression.”

Wall Street Journal: Wanted: Jobs For the New ‘Lost’ Generation – “From Oakland to Orlando—and across the ocean in Birmingham and Barcelona—young people have come of age amid the most prolonged period of economic distress since the Great Depression. Most, like Mr. Wetherell, have little memory of the financial crisis itself, which struck while they were still in high school. But they are all too familiar with its aftermath: the crippling recession, which made it all but impossible for many young people to get a first foothold in the job market, and the achingly slow recovery that has left the prosperity of their parents’ generation out of reach—perhaps permanently.”

Excerpt: ‘Average is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation’ by Tyler Cowen

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

 
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Three: What Is The Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 31, 2014
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We tumble for ya, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Tuco the Massachusetts K-9 Unit puppy in training.

More »
Comment
 
Awards Season 2014: The Movies Worth Your Time
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

More »
Comment