Bad things happen. How we respond makes all the difference.

Pandemics, natural disasters, wars, recessions, depressions… sometimes we can’t easily control those things. Sometimes we have no choice but to simply let them run their course. Sometimes we wouldn’t really want to interfere with their course even if we thought we could.

When it comes to the economy, though, there’s always a choice. In this case, as Bloomberg’s Ben Steverman writes, the choice (or at least the outcome of those choices) is simple – more inequality, or less inequality.

The decisions we make that lead to one outcome or another, even if indirectly, have much to do with the things we value in the first place, or at least, the things those making the decisions happen to value. Are your values aligned with theirs?

Bloomberg: The Pandemic Will Reduce Inequality—or Make It Worse

“The Black Death took a highly stratified medieval society and turned it upside down. With 75 million dead, Europe’s wealthy landowners couldn’t find enough people to tend their fields. When peasants—the essential workers of the day—demanded higher pay, the elites of the 14th century fought back with punitive laws, forced labor, and taxes. Even so, wages for the lowliest workers soared. In rural England, they doubled.”

“For now, the most obvious guide to what comes next isn’t the Black Death, which precipitated the demise of European feudalism, but the Great Recession, which had more or less the opposite effect. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, inequality soared to heights not seen since the early part of the last century. At first, elites feared that much of their wealth would be wiped out in a globally synchronized market crash, à la 1929. But central banks pumped out trillions of dollars as monetary stimulus, markets recovered, and what followed may have been the best decade in history for the superwealthy.”

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