Wolf on the undeserving rich

In: Uncategorized

7 Nov 2007

Martin Wolf has a characteristically astute piece on global inequality in today’s Financial Times. He makes a distinction between a capitalism where wealth is generated on the back of political connections combined with resistance to competition and the normal operation of the market. Carlos Slim, a Mexican who is the richest man in the world according to Fortune, is for Wolf an example of the former. Slim made his fortune from buying a controlling stake in Telmex, the national telephone company, from the government in 1990. Since then it has enjoyed protected status as an extremely profitable quasi-monopoly.

I am sceptical that the distinction between deserving and undeserving capitalists is as straightforward as Wolf makes out. But no doubt it could prove popular with defenders of the free market.