Timecard Capitalists : Planet Money People who make the highest salaries are increasingly the same people who draw the highest incomes from their capital.
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Timecard Capitalists

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Timecard Capitalists

Timecard Capitalists

Timecard Capitalists

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
People work at the "coworking" space Cove on February 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Once upon a time — or at least, once upon the 19th century — there were those who earned money from owning stuff, and those earned money from working.

But the economy has obviously evolved since then. Salaries, especially for high skill occupations, have climbed, making it easier for workers to save money. And the democratization of capital markets — e.g. the widespread access to owning stocks and bonds — has also made it easier for workers to build up their wealth.

Furthermore, the nature of work itself has changed, with many jobs becoming less physically arduous, more diversified and intellectually stimulating, and in many ways more prestigious than the jobs of the past.

One consequence of this evolution is that, more and more, the people who make the highest incomes from capital are the same people who make the highest incomes from labor. Branko Milanovic, author of the new book, Capitalism, Alone, has coined a term to describe this trend: homoploutia, from the Greek words "same" and "wealth".

Today on the show, what are the societal implications of a world in which the highest wage-earners are the same people who make the most from the assets they own? How will it affect income inequality? And how should policymakers respond to it?

Branko Milanovic
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Branko Milanovic

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