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A relational analysis of top incomes and wealth: economic evaluation, relative (dis)advantage and the service to capital

Hecht, Katharina (2017) A relational analysis of top incomes and wealth: economic evaluation, relative (dis)advantage and the service to capital. Working Paper (11). International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

While an impressive body of economic literature documents increases in top incomes and wealth in liberal market economies, few studies focus on the social and cultural processes constitutive of this inequality. Drawing on a mixed-methods study in the UK, this article elaborates how top incomes and wealth are made sense of and produced by economic ‘elites’ through the cultural process of economic evaluation. Economic evaluative practices are based on the idea that ‘the market’ is a neutral and fair instrument for the distribution of resources. Due to economic evaluation and inequality at the top, top income earners experience relative (dis)advantage; while recognizing their advantage compared to the general population they experience disadvantage when ‘looking up’. Top incomes are produced via economic evaluative practices which conceptualize the value of labour based on increases in the value of capital. Hence the legitimating purpose of top incomes and wealth is service to capital.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/International-Inequalities
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
International Inequalities Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2019 13:21
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2020 23:07
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/101845

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