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RIYADH – Il problema della crescente disparità di reddito ha offuscato il Forum economico mondiale 2015 appena conclusosi a Davos. Com'è noto, l'economia degli Stati Uniti è cresciuta in modo significativo negli ultimi tre decenni, mentre il reddito della famiglia media no. L'1% (anzi, lo 0,01%) più benestante della popolazione si è accaparrato la maggior parte dei profitti, una situazione che le società difficilmente potranno tollerare a lungo.

Molti temono che si tratti di un fenomeno globale con cause simili dappertutto, un contetto chiave contenuto nell'acclamato libro di Thomas Piketty Il capitale nel XXI secolo. Ma un'asserzione del genere potrebbe essere pericolosamente fuorviante.

È fondamentale fare una distinzione tra disuguaglianza in termini di produttività tra le imprese e disuguale distribuzione del reddito nelle imprese. La tradizionale battaglia tra lavoro e capitale riguarda perlopiù il secondo, con i lavoratori e i proprietari in lotta per aggiudicarsi la loro fetta di torta. Esiste, però, una disuguaglianza sorprendentemente profonda a livello di produttività delle imprese, che significa che le dimensioni della torta possono variare, e di molto. Ciò vale in modo particolare per i paesi in via di sviluppo, dove è facile riscontrare differenze di produttività di coefficiente dieci a livello provinciale o statale, e molto superiori a livello municipale.

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