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Oklahoma State University

John Tamny on Income Inequality

October 5, 2016

John Tamny, Political Economy Editor at Forbes and Editor of RealClearMarkets, traveled to Oklahoma State University in early October. During his visit, he presented his talk "The Unrelenting Genius of Inequality" before two Entrepreneurship classes as well as a general audience.

In total, approximately 250 students and faculty were present as Tamny shared his views on inequality. According to Tamny, inequality simply means that all individuals get to pursue their passions and what makes them "individually great." He pointed to incredibly successful businessmen such as Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, not as examples of millionaires that should be loathed, but rather as people who have made significant contributions to the well-being of society.

He also countered the notion that the ultra-wealthy hoard their money, keeping it out of circulation and therefore unaccessible by the public. He provided examples of businesses, such as ESPN, whose existence today can be largely attributed to investments made by private individuals. Further, he claimed that the idea of 'tucking money away under a mattress' would provide no financial benefit for the more affluent members of society. Even if these individuals merely choose to keep their money in the bank for safekeeping and accruing interest, that money would then be available for banks to loan to the public. Thus, he concludes, when individuals are able to keep more of their money, it is more accessible to the public than it would be otherwise.