Comparing today's top income earners to yesteryear's
...Making precise comparisons to earlier periods can be difficult: Some income and wealth numbers are estimates, and income is only one way of measuring wealth. Still, there are some notable ways to measure gilded ages.
In the late 1890s, when the average American worker’s weekly wage was less than $10, John D. Rockefeller was earning about $192,000 a week. When he died in 1937, the estimated annual investment return on his $1.4 billion wealth produced an income equal to that of about 116,000 American workers, according to Branko Milanovic, lead economist for the World Bank research group and the author of “The Haves and the Have-Nots.” Today, Bill Gates’s annual income equals that of about 75,000 workers.
“If you compare Rockefeller’s income and the average income in the United States, then the gap was even greater in those days,” Dr. Milanovic said. “In the 1920s, though, the overall distribution of income is about the same as now in terms of inequality — very high.”
J. Bradford DeLong, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, largely agreed. “Because the economy was smaller back then, fewer people — John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan — were more powerful in the country,” he said....
comments powered by Disqus
- Kissinger Memo from 1972: Make the North Vietnamese think Nixon and I are crazy
- How Much U.S. History Do Americans Actually Know? Less Than You Think.
- Ice cream cone named after Adolf Hitler on sale in India sparks anger in Germany
- Expressing Outrage over Attacks on Cultural Heritage of Iraq, General Assembly Unanimously Adopts Resolution Calling for Urgent Action
- Isis Palmyra demolition has begun with ancient God Lion statue destroyed
- NYT hosts debate including Eric Foner: How Americans should remember Reconstruction
- William Leuchtenburg says historians and the media have been too hard on Obama
- Hugh Ambrose, historian who helped develop WWII Museum, dead at 48
- Historian discounts claim that Churchill and other British PM's were gay
- Nick Bunker Wins $50,000 2015 George Washington Book Prize