The "law" of wealth concentration

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Wed Aug 16 17:25:33 PDT 2000

Michael Perelman wrote:

> Pareto's initial story was that if you had a complete redistribution of wealth
> so that everybody had the same, soon the previously wealthy would end up with
> about the same distribution of income.

Of course unless social relations (relations of production especially) were changed his point probably holds but is trivial. We are talking about an unreal situation, however, because no such redistribution can occur except in the context of titanic social upheavals. Only in chess or checkers do the rules remain unchanged while the situation changes. It doesn't even work as a thought experiment. No one can coherently imagine an "outside" power which would somehow change the distribution of wealth in the U.S. while leaving everything else as it now is (include the experience of the people). The operative principle of capitalism is that every act (at least potentially) so changes the world that the world in which the act's motive made sense no longer exists.


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