The International Median Wage Picture

A blog about business and economics.
March 30 2012 11:22 AM

The International Median Wage Picture

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I'm supposed to talk about inequality soon at a Kaufmann Foundation event that you can see here. My view is that people wouldn't really care about growing inequality if not for the fact that it's conjoined with median wage stagnation.

And in those terms, it's interesting to note that wage stagnation is not an exclusively American phenomenon but also not a universal one. This pattern is a little difficult to interpret, but I tend to think that if Sweden and Australia and France can do it then so can we. And I think it's notable that Sweden isn't lacking in what you might think of as the "good" kind of super-rich people who get rich by starting new things that prove to be popular. Stefan Persson took over a Swedish department store called Hennes & Moritz and turned it into a super-successful global brand so he's one of the richest people on the planet. This hasn't stopped the Swedish middle class from prospering. Here in the US, something else is happening.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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