“The key element shaping inequality is no longer the employment relationship but rather whether one is able to buy assets that appreciate at a faster rate than both inflation and wages”.
So argue Lisa Adkins, Martijn Konings and Melinda Cooper in The Asset Economy
(Polity Press, 2020), extending the argument in Thomas Piketty’s 2014 best-seller Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Inheritance, they claim, is no longer a 19th-century-style transmission of property titles after death but a “strategically timed transfer of funds that need to be leveraged and put to work in the speculative logic of the asset economy”. In the Anglo-Saxon economies at least, households are no longer just a unit of subsistence or consumption but a dynamic Minskyan balance-sheet manager.
Lisa Adkins is Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences and Martijn Konings is Professor of Political Economy and Social Theory at the University of Sydney.
Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors.