In Western capitalism circa 2013, fear that the market economy has become dysfunctional is not limited to a few entrepreneurs in Boulder. It is being publicly expressed, with increasing frequency, by some of the people who occupy the commanding heights of the global economy.
Most of the conversation about how geopolitics is changing in the 21st century focuses on the shift from west to east and on how we're moving from the bipolar power equation of the Cold War to a new bipolar relationship, that of the U.S. and China, that determines the mood music for everyone else.
Executive pay has skyrocketed for many reasons - including the prevalence of overly cozy boards and changing cultural norms about pay - but increasing scale, competition, and innovation have all played major roles.
When you think of technological revolution, you probably think of geeks in cool coastal spaces like the Google campus, or perhaps of math wizards on Wall Street. But one source of rural prosperity is the adoption of radical new technologies - and a consequent surge in productivity.
The one source of criticism even the most repressive authoritarian leader cannot silence is the outside world. Autocrats are usually thin-skinned and like to be admired, so at least, at first, they often seek to be praised abroad.
The progressives like to talk a lot about poverty - and you should. However, it's the guys in the middle who have really been hurt by the global economy . The people at the bottom have been holding on to their jobs quite well, actually.
Urbanites may picture farmers as hip heritage-pig breeders returning to the land, or a struggling rural underclass waging a doomed battle to hang on to their patrimony as agribusiness moves in. But these stereotypes are misleading.
My mother was born in a refugee camp in Germany before the family immigrated to western Canada. They were able to get visas thanks to my grandfather's older sister, who had immigrated between the wars.
Shipping middle-class jobs to China, or hollowing them out with machines, is a win for smart managers and their shareholders. We call the result higher productivity. But, looked at through the lens of middle-class jobs, it is a loss.
Motherhood may be a 'killer' when it comes to becoming a Master of the Universe, but among middle-class mothers, even after that touch of baby's lips to bosom, a big and growing number find themselves able - and often required - to bring home the family bacon.
One of the great, and largely forgotten, triumphs of American society and government has been how smoothly U.S. farmers and their communities negotiated the creative destruction of the early 20th century and emerged triumphant when it was over.
Individual nations have offered their own contributions to income inequality - financial deregulation and upper-bracket tax cuts in the United States; insider privatization in Russia; rent-seeking in regulated industries in India and Mexico.
If you believe in democracy, the overreach of leaders is a good reminder that vigorous public debate and time-consuming due process are not only more fair and more just, but that over the long term they usually produce better government, too.
I think Obama and the economists around him have a very sophisticated understanding of both globalization and the technology revolution and the impact they're having on the world economy and they way they're creating these winner-take-all spirals.
It's important to remember that, in the 1930s, a lot of people in the West looked at communism as a pretty good idea. That was partly because they didn't know how bad things were on the communist side of the world, but it was also partly because things were bad in the West.
The tragedy of 9/11 and the bloody scrambling-up of the Middle East were painful reminders that the world had not yet reached any end-of-history ideal. But these events mattered less to the assumptions and strategies of huge multinational companies than one might guess.
The hollowing out of the middle class. That's not just about capitalism or the structure of taxation. That is also about the fundamental truth that machines can do a lot of things better than humans used to do. A lot of those people are being pushed down to do less value-adding jobs, so they get paid less money.
This is the 21st-century paradox: Even as political democracy has become the intellectual default mode for much of the world, the private sector usually trumps the public one when it comes to accommodating consumer choice.