It helps to look at the long term trends to recognize the long term pattern.
In a world of ever increasing inequities we clearly can’t sustain a real “rights agenda”. Even the strongest of moral commitments is no match for a world economy which in a lasting physical way, is systematically splitting apart.
Sometimes local inequities can seem to be blamed on local conditions, but not when it’s a long sustained accelerating global trend. That’s what we see in this US data from 2008, showing that growing inequity in household income has been a very persistent trend. It’s a very familiar subject of discussion and increasing complaint too, that ever increasing shares of the wealth are going to the wealthy. It’s been a central motivation for the UN’s debates on how achieve sustainable development too. So the trend as of 2008, if anything, has probably only been getting worse. Little is likely to change, either, with the SDG’s having no language for reversing the pattern of the wealthy being the only winners in the modern economy.
It’s the household incomes of everyone else that stopped growing.*The estimated trend for “the 1%” is based on US and Global data
showing US & Global GDP having continued to grow as before.
To understand the root cause you need to think about it as a symptom, a symptom of how the global economic system is behaving. The key piece of information is that “What is happening, is happening for the world economy as a whole”. Around ~1970 what happened to the US economy, as the bellwether for the world, is that the wealth of the wealthy kept growing exponentially, more or less just as before. Nothing else did.