畅销书《二十一世纪的资本》(Capital in the Twenty-First Century)的作者，时下风头最劲的经济学家托马斯•皮克提提供了一个广为人知的解决方案：全球收入再分配。在他的书中，皮克提支持一种严格的全球财富税，这项税种可以让政府着手调整过度的贫富差距。不过，该计划缺乏政治上的可行性。
经济学家约瑟夫•布拉西和合著者认为，他们已经找到了第三种答案。布拉西与理查德•弗里曼和道格拉斯•克鲁斯共同撰写了一本新书《公民的分享：减少21世纪的不平等现象》(The Citizen’s Share:Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century)，这本书去年已由耶鲁大学出版社(Yale University Press)出版，今夏推出了平装本。布拉西等人建议企业分享利润，员工持股，以及股票期权计划，这些措施能够让员工拥有企业大多数股权，或者分享企业收益。
You’ve heard it before: America is becoming gradually more and more unequal. The top 5% of the nation’s earners control half of its wealth, and the top 20% bring in 86% of capital income, including interest and stock market gains.
What should be done about it? Plenty of economists would say nothing. But, if you believe the latest economic jeremiads, the eventual consequences of inaction could send society careening toward a horrifying form of new-age feudalism.
Thomas Piketty, the author of the best-selling inequality opus Capital in the Twenty-First Century, offered a highly publicized solution: worldwide income redistribution. In his book, Piketty espouses a stringent global wealth tax that would allow the government to manually smooth over the wealth gap. Politically, the plan is a non-starter.
Economist Joseph Blasi and co-authors think they have a third answer. Blasi, along with Richard Freeman and Douglas Kruse, wrote a book called The Citizen’s Share:Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century, published last year by Yale University Press and out in paperback this summer. In it, Blasichampions corporate profit-sharing, employee stock ownership, and stock option plans in which employees own chunks of the company or take part in earnings.
Why would this stamp out inequality? Blasi sat down with Fortune last week to lay out the plan. The idea is rooted, he says, in the Founding Fathers’ original vision of widespread land ownership. In the country’s early days, capital mostly consisted of land holdings, and there were a host of government programs dedicated to making owning it more accessible. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison all believed men should have their own farms, and thereby be self-sustaining citizens. Abraham Lincoln, too, supported the idea with the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted citizens 160 acres of government land to cultivate.
“Why isn’t our plan radical?” Blasi asks. “Because the founders of the American revolution had this view. That broad-based capital ownership was necessary for the republic to exist.”