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How the middle class became downwardly mobile

When asset prices outstrip wages in developed economies, the result is an “inheritance society”. 

The economist Thomas Piketty points out in Capital in the Twenty-First Century that what we’re seeing is a reversion to the historical norm: in most epochs, the vast bulk of wealth comes from inheritance, not work. 

Piketty says the exception was the postwar era: once the Great Depression and the second world war had decimated family wealth, there was little left to inherit.

Fifty years ago, a bank manager or teacher or lawyer was a big shot guaranteed a big house. Nowadays people in those jobs can find themselves living in their childhood bedrooms, struggling to please lesser-educated parents who control the pot of gold. 

Simon Kuper FT 29 April 2021

Simon Kuper - en av mina Gurus

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