The real fissure

by | October 14, 2013

Originally published at Financial Times Alphaville | October 14, 2013

The convulsions in Washington are not about whether Congress and the President can find a way to raise the debt ceiling and re-open the government. Rather, they are about unprecedented income inequity and a fundamental disagreement over the concept of the American Dream.

At issue is whether the United States is about protecting the ideals of capitalism and aggregate economic growth, or the ideals of democracy and the well-being of the majority. In a society that is sustainable, these two ideals would be well-aligned and somewhat balanced. But as US society grows more unequal, the objectives of these ideals diverge, and debates grow more divisive.

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Filed Under: Economics

About the Author

Alex is the co-founder of Jackson Hole Economics, LLC, a private research organization which provides analysis of key topics in economics, politics, the environment and finance, and develops actionable ideas for how sustainable growth can be achieved.

Alex has two decades of experience growing and transforming organizations in the financial and non-profit industry. He served as CEO and CIO for a number of publicly listed financial services companies and also as the Chief Financial Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he managed a range of day-to-day operating functions, was a member of the management committee and created the program-related investments group.

Alex served as a White House Fellow in the Clinton Administration and as an assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Franklin Resources, Inc., a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chair of the Advisory Board of Project Syndicate and a board member of the American Alpine Club. Alex also writes regularly for various news outlets and is the author of The Big Thing: Brave Bea and Babu's Bindi, both children's books.  He is an avid mountaineer and rock climber and led the first major climb to raise money for charity through an ascent of Mt. McKinley.

Friedman holds a JD from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, an MBA from Columbia Business School, and a BA from Princeton University.

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