[ExI] Middle Class Doomed?

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Sep 30 20:17:16 UTC 2013

On 2013-09-30 15:02, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 07:29:34AM -0600, Kelly Anderson wrote:
>> I believe that incomes almost always follow a power curve, with a few
> Depends on the country. It's not a natural law.

Whether it is a natural law is a good question, actually. It is not just 
that power-law tails are found in all industrialised economies, but they 
seem to follow robustly from a lot of models too (e.g. 
http://arxiv.org/abs/condmat/0002374 ). One can of course quibble about 
whether it is really power law, lognormal or stretched exponential: 
http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.0212 - but the effect is the same.

Different countries have different exponents, so clearly the shape can 
be affected. But I suspect the overall wealth condensation effect is 
just due to the skew distribution of human ability and the 
winner-take-all properties of human attention: give everybody an equal 
amount of wealth, and very soon they will have given some of it to a few 
superstars who produce something everybody wants.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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