Ed Conard discusses his book, The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class.
Using fact-based logic, Conard tracks the implications of an economy now constrained by both its capacity for risk-taking and by a shortage of properly trained talent—rather than by labor or capital, as was the case historically. He uses this fresh perspective to challenge the conclusions of liberal economists like Larry Summers and Joseph Stiglitz and the myths of “crony capitalism” more broadly.
Instead, he argues that the growing wealth of most successful Americans is not to blame for the stagnating incomes of the middle and working classes. If anything, the success of the 1 percent has put upward pressure on employment and wages. Conard argues that high payoffs for success motivate talent to get the training and take the risks that gradually loosen the constraints to growth. Well-meaning attempts to decrease inequality through redistribution dull these incentives, gradually hurting not just the 1 percent but everyone else as well.
Conard outlines a plan for growing middle- and working-class wages in an economy with a near infinite supply of labor that is shifting from capital-intensive manufacturing to knowledge-intensive, innovation-driven fields. He urges us to stop blaming the success of the 1 percent for slow wage growth and embrace the upside of inequality: faster growth and greater prosperity for everyone.
About Ed Conard
Edward Conard is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he works on US economic policy — in particular, on the effect of taxes, government policies, and finance on risk-taking and innovation.
A founding member of Bain Capital, Conard was in charge of the New York office and responsible for the acquisitions of large industrial companies. Previously, he worked for Wasserstein Perella & Co., an investment bank that specialized in mergers and acquisitions, and Bain & Company, a management-consulting firm, where he led the firm’s industrial practice.
Conard is the author of two top ten New York Times bestselling books: The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class and Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong. Conard has a master of business administration degree from Harvard Business School and a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the University of Michigan.