The Atlantic: Inequality Hurts the Rich and Poor Alike

I have a piece in The Atlantic today, the first of hopefully many to come. An excerpt:

All of this is to say that there are non-material ways in which high levels of inequality diminish quality of life, for the poor especially, but even for middle and upper-income individuals. Distrust and mental illness are two prominent areas, but there are many others. It is easy to imagine, then, a scenario where a rich country like the U.S. may be willing to make the poor slightly poorer in order to make the rich dramatically less rich. Compressing the economic distribution has its own benefits, and those benefits could overwhelm the loss of well-being caused by everyone having less stuff. As it stands, we do not have to make this choice because it is possible to compress the economic distribution without making the poor poorer, and only making the rich less rich. But if we did, it wouldn’t necessarily be unreasonable, no matter what Thatcher’s ghost might say.

Read the rest at The Atlantic.