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Ten Controversial Questions

(Robert Ashford, Professor of Law, © 2000 Robert Ashford, reprinted with permission of the author.)

  1. Why does wealth tend to concentrate in market economies even in times of great prosperity?
  2. Why (if markets are basically free and competitive) does vast excess productive capacity persist alongside of widespread unmet needs and wants?
  3. Why does the great promise of the industrial revolution (abundance and leisure) remain unfulfilled for most people?
  4. What is behind the proverb, “It takes money to make money”?
  5. What are the growth and distributive consequences of the fact that most capital is acquired with the earnings of capital?
  6. How can more economic opportunity become more broadly distributed?
  7.  Is there a practical, efficient way to enable all people to acquire capital with the earnings of capital, without taking anything from existing owners?
  8. Will an opening of the capital markets produce substantial distribution-based economic growth?
  9. How can the need for increased economic growth to benefit poor and working people be harmonized with environmental necessities?
  10. Does it matter whether the ownership of capital is highly concentrated or broadly distributed among people?


Professor Ashford is author of Binary Economics: The New Paradigm, with Rodney Shakespeare (University Press of America, 1999).