I missed this Paul Krugman piece a few days ago:
Inequality is back in the news, largely thanks to Occupy Wall Street, but with an assist from the Congressional Budget Office. And you know what that means: It’s time to roll out the obfuscators! Anyone who has tracked this issue over time knows what I mean. Whenever growing income disparities threaten to come into focus, a reliable set of defenders tries to bring back the blur.
Think tanks put out reports claiming that inequality isn’t really rising, or that it doesn’t matter. Pundits try to put a more benign face on the phenomenon.”
He says that they are ‘basically’ right – but that they should have focused more on the 0.1 percent than the 1 percent. Well, perhaps fair enough.
Meanwhile, in the UK, we’ve seen Occupy helping drive a change that isn’t really quantifiable, but is potentially seismic in its implications. We have Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, saying something that would have been unthinkable under former Labour leaders Tony Blair or Gordon Brown: that Occupy is right. Whether you think this is mere grandstanding or not, the fact is that Occupy have helped punch out political space Miliband and others to, er, occupy. As the New Statesman put it on Miliband’s article:
It’s a victory for Occupy. The left is so accustomed to defeat that it is often incapable of acknowledging a step forward, however limited or modest in scale. . . . the fact that a Labour leader is at all upbeat about the Occupy movement in the Sunday papers shows that pressure from below pays off. The movement is helping to shape the terms of the political debate.
That quite an achievement.