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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Out of Balance July 12, 2012 9:16 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Economy, Politics, Touchy Subjects
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Out of Balance

A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.

ACTUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH

 
 
 
 
 

WHAT AMERICANS THINK IT IS

 
 
 
 
 

WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE IT TO BE

 
 
 
 
 
0
20
40
60
80
100

Source: Michael L. Norton, Harvard Business School; Dan Ariely, Duke University

And for the REAL image, look on page 11 of Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely’s report http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press.pdf (the online version is here: http://pps.sagepub.com/content/6/1/9)

What is this?

Today, a manipulated image of this data is spreading like wildfire through the Internetz particularly over Facebook. The source of the image can be found at MotherJones.com but has been altered to show a baby peeing on a man and a a kitten commenting that "tickle down" doesn’t work. The original image is within a PDF and JPG so I’ve decided to put it here in plain text. Rather than looking at Norton and Ariely’s findings (online version), I guessed at the numbers but they look pretty close to the actual image. It makes the point.

If you are going to share this image today, please share from the PDF from MotherJones or the JPG from MotherJones instead of passing around the one with the cat.

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