INET’s Rob Johnson on CNBC: “Inequality has been there a long time and growing rapidly”


Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the start of the Occupy movement, and INET Executive Director Rob Johnson went on CNBC to discuss the significance of the milestone.

In particular, Johnson pointed out that Occupy protesters had brought the important issue of economic inequality to the forefront of the national dialogue. However, he also noted that the problem of inequality in America isn’t really about the last year – it’s about the last 40 years.

Johnson described how the economics profession had provided the world with “bad maps” that have led society far off course. He suggested that economists need to, “redraw the maps and make them a better reflection of reality” so that they include important issues like inequality – a problem that orthodox economics has simply assumed doesn’t matter.

He also suggested that while inequality has been a problem for decades it is now “growing at a rapid rate.” But political problems have played an important role in preventing a solution to this vital issue.

“The most important thing we have to recognize is that the system of money in politics in the post-Citizens United world is broken,” he said. For an example this dysfunction, Johnson and CNBC host Carl Quintanilla pointed to the lack of an effective national education system to train an American workforce that can compete in a globalized world, which Johnson called “a national tragedy.”

To start solving these problems, Johnson said that economists need to redraw their maps in a way that addresses society’s current “social disequilibrium.” Only then can the global economy get back on course toward a cooperative game where people can find the necessary solutions.