Author | Editor: Kuznar, L. (NSI, Inc.)
Four datasets on wealth and status distribution in the United States were analyzed: 2016, 2010, and 2007 World Bank quintile and decile estimates of income, and 2017 US Bureau of Labor statistics income deciles.
Overall the population of the US is highly risk acceptant, with peaks among the poor and the wealthiest. Furthermore, recent economic volatility has caused middle class Americans to lose wealth, which has not been regained, placing them in a loss averse and therefore risk accepting decision frame. The wealthy have been able to regain wealth lost during the Great Recession. However, their regained wealth has been in the form of more uncertain and volatile income versus traditional rents from capital ownership, possibly sustaining their high level of risk acceptance.
Significance for Risk Taking and Stability
The entire American population is arguably risk acceptant, or in the case of the middle class, loss averse. These conditions imply political risk taking across the social spectrum.
Implications for US Interests
Political partisanship, social unrest, and economic volatility are likely to decrease trust in the political system and lead to protest and major shifts in the priorities of political parties.
Implications for China’s Interests
Given the close economic ties between China and the US, volatility in American markets could jeopardize some Chinese economic interests. However, given the great power competition for global influence between the countries, losses in economic power and increased social division within the US likely play into Chinese interests and objectives.
Implications for Russia’s Interests
Given Russia’s desire to see a weakened US and democratic institutions worldwide, economic inequality, volatility, partisanship and social discord in the US presents Russia with opportunities to use cleavages between socio-economic classes to further weaken the nation.