Revolution is raging in the Middle East, in societies that all have one thing in common: 1% or less of their population controls the lion’s share of the wealth. “As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: When will it come to America?” asks former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz in Vanity Fair. Because “it’s no use pretending” America isn’t the same kind of society. Our wealthiest 1% have unlimited political power.
What’s more, they've used that power to the detriment of the other 99%. The middle class has seen its income fall, unemployment is staggeringly high for the young, and we have less upward class mobility than most European countries. In the long run this is bad for the economy. The top 1% may have it all “but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99% live,” Stiglitz writes. “Throughout history, this is something that the top 1% eventually do learn. Too late.” (Read more Joseph Stiglitz stories.)