What Is Stephen Harper Reading? That was the title of a book Yann Martel wrote in 2011. He wrote it as a compilation of recommended readings he sent bi-monthly to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I know it is a bit late but I wish Martel had included among those titles Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the newly released book authored by French economist Thomas Piketty.
As an economist by training, Stephen Harper would be interested in reading what Thomas Piketty has to say about capitalism and the threat that rising inequality is representing for the whole economic system.
As Donald Sterling discovered last week, even billions of dollars can't spare you public humiliation when you're caught on tape making racist remarks.
For everything else, however, there's MasterCard.
Indeed, apart from the slagging the L.A. Clippers owner received from the NBA, enormous wealth can get you just about everything, while lack of resources leaves you barely able to function in society.
So the fact that there's been a massive diversion of income and wealth to those at the top in recent years seems like it should be a big deal.
Two years ago the Occupy Movement propelled inequality into the news. Today Occupy is gone from the headlines, and inequality hasn't made it to the political agenda.
Think-tanks, economists and some politicians talk a lot about inequality. What do Canadians think?
In a Forum Research poll in November, 86 per cent agreed that "there is a growing income gap in Canada, where the rich are getting too rich and the poor are getting too poor."
- 76 per cent also agreed the "provincial and federal governments should do more to redistribute wealth from the richest to poorest Canadians." Fifty per cent agreed strongly.
It's rare that members of Canada's financial elite are so clumsy in revealing that their cage has been rattled.
Seemingly out of the blue this week, the head honchos of Canada's biggest companies, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, put out a media release insisting that their taxes are not too low.
This defensive posture -- who mentioned murder? -- reveals they fear others may be slowly catching on to the massive transfer of wealth to the richest Canadians that's been going on for the past 14 years due to the systematic cutting of corporate tax rates.