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Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality$
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Henry Phelps Brown

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198286481.001.0001

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The Distribution of Wealth in Some Contemporary Economies

The Distribution of Wealth in Some Contemporary Economies

Chapter:
(p.342) 13 The Distribution of Wealth in Some Contemporary Economies
Source:
Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality
Author(s):

Henry Phelps Brown

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198286481.003.0014

The first section of the chapter summarizes the arguments of R. H. Tawney and C. A. R. Crosland against great (inherited) wealth––as opposed to great earnings (income)––and confronts the paradox that although inequalities of wealth are much greater than those of earnings, the removal of this wealth would not much reduce inequality. However, since the possession of wealth is regarded as conferring power and status as well as income, there is reason to proceed with enquiry into its distribution. The answers to this enquiry are presented in three further sections. These discuss the limited sources of knowledge of wealth, contrast the distribution of wealth in the UK with that of income, and provide international comparisons of the distribution of wealth between the UK, USA, Canada, and the Republic of Ireland. Differences between the UK and USA are discussed in terms of age distribution, house ownership, and inheritance (and savings).

Keywords:   age distribution, Canada, C. A. R. Crosland, earnings, house ownership, income distribution, inequality, inheritance, inherited wealth, Republic of Ireland, savings, R. H. Tawney, UK, USA, wealth distribution

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