The Sunday Edition

Capitalism is not the enemy and inequality can be a force for good: Economist William Watson

The McGill University economist argues that capitalism has lifted millions out of poverty, and that people who have good ideas or great talent should accumulate billions.
Protestors dance outside the Vancouver Art Gallery during the Occupy Vancouver group assembly in Vancouver. (Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe)

According to Statistics Canada, in the 1950s and '60s, the top one per cent of income earners in this country saw about eight per cent growth in their incomes. Since 1990, that same group has seen 33 per cent growth. That is substantially more than any other sector of income earners .But according to economist William Watson, the numbers tell just part of the story. He argues that inequality, like cholesterol, is both good and bad. And as he is quick to point out, capitalism has lifted millions out of poverty.   

Economist William Watson
William Watson teaches economics at McGill University, and is a regular columnist in The National Post. His latest book is called The Inequality Trap: Fighting Capitalism Instead of Poverty.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.