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Is Lifestyle Equality More Important Than Income Inequality?

January 4, 2012 | Daily Capital

Income inequality has generated a tremendous amount of heated debate in recent times. Occupy Wall Street is probably the most publicized of public outcries on the matter. There’s certainly no arguing the income gap has grown, but many forget an important fact: due to technology and health care improvements, the actual standard of living has risen for almost all segments of the economy. Flat screen televisions, computers, cell phones – once considered high-ticket items – have now infiltrated all economic classes. While the ultra-wealthy may be even wealthier, so are the rest of us.

The Rise of Consumption Equality

It used to be so cool to be wealthy—an elite education, exclusive mobile communications, a private screening room, a table at Annabel’s on London’s Berkeley Square. Now it’s hard to swing a cat without hitting yet another diatribe against income inequality. People sleep in tents to protest that others are too damn wealthy. Yes, some people have more than others. Yet as far as millionaires and billionaires are concerned, they’re experiencing a horrifying revolution: consumption equality. For the most part, the wealthy bust their tail, work 60-80 hour weeks building some game-changing product for the mass market, but at the end of the day they can’t enjoy much that the middle class doesn’t also enjoy. Where’s the fairness? What does Google founder Larry Page have that you don’t have?

Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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