Wealth and income inequality have recently gone down in the U.S. and other parts of the West, and the decline has been going on for the better part of the last decade. Yet it is not clear, to me at least, whether this is something to celebrate.
The recent decrease should come as no surprise. Markets are well below their late 2021 levels and the wealthy hold a disproportionate share of the stock market. Executive compensation also tends to move with the markets, which affect the wealth of founders such as Mark Zuckerberg, who according to one measure has lost about three-quarters of his net wealth at its peak. And then there are all those former crypto billionaires, and not just Sam Bankman-Fried.
At the lower end of the income scale, the picture is more complex. Nonetheless the labor market has yet to crash, the current unemployment rate is 3.7% and there are signs of an inflationary soft landing. Over the third quarter of 2022, the bottom 50% saw their real incomes rise an average of 1.5%. None of those narratives are finished, but matters could be worse.