I have been reading a lot of the data flying around of late about income inequality and mobility. And it struck me that income mobility may be a large part of what is driving many OWS protesters.
Despite assumptions to the contrary on the Left, wealth is not a zero-sum game. Steven Jobs got richer by making me better off. But the one thing that is zero-sum is presence in the top 1%. When someone joins the club, someone, by operation of basic math, drops out.
That does not mean that the other person who drops out is poorer, it just means that they are no longer as rich relative to their peers. This same effect works int he top 10% and 20%, etc.
Looking at OWS protectors, they seem to be disproportionately children of the upper middle class or even of the rich. They have expensive college educations, live in nice homes, and have gobs of stuff (OWS must be the most iPhoned event in history). My guess is that they are of the upper two quintiles, or at least their parents were.
I am wondering if the problem is not income inequality but too much income mobility. After all, a third of the top two quartiles in 2001 had dropped into the bottom three in 2007 (while an equal number moved up). Are these the angry proletariat, or are they children of the well-off who are upset their college degree in puppetteering did not automatically keep them up with the Joneses? Are they, in other words, Philip Rearden?