According to a recent Harvard Business School survey, the rapidly growing gap between the wealthy and the its middle and lower classes in the U.S. is “unsustainable”, but the inequality problem is probably not going to get better any time soon.

The survey, published on Monday, September 8th, is titled “An Economy Doing Half its Job”. The results of the Harvard Business School alumni survey suggested that American businesses (especially larger companies) were recovering their global competitive edge since the financial crisis, but that workers were not likely to see better pay and benefits in the near future.

productivity inequality Nick Hanauer

 

Improvement in sentiment from Harvard inequality survey 2012 survey

Around 47% of respondents in the survey said that over the next three years they expected U.S. companies to be both less competitive internationally and less able to pay higher wages and benefits, compared to 33% who thought that U.S firms would be more competitive.

Although far from reassuring, the results were at least a significant improvement from the 2012 Harvard Business School alumni survey showing 58% of respondents expecting a decline in U.S. competitiveness.

According to the sponsors of the Harvard survey, respondents to the 2014 survey “were much more hopeful about the future competitive success of America’s firms than they were about the future pay of America’s workers.”

Survey results troubling

For a socially progressive person seeking to reverse the growing inequality that is tearing our great nation apart, this Harvard inequality survey is particularly troubling, as the vast majority of Harvard Business school alums replying to this survey are the very people who are currently getting filthy rich at the the expense of the middle class and the poor. In other words, a reasonable meta-reading of this survey is that the rich fat cats and corporate barons are quite consciously aware of their ability to exploit a broken system and intend to continue to do so as long as they possibly can.

Harvard scolds business execs for short-sightedness

The analysis of the survey castigated “short-sighted U.S business execs. “Shortsighted executives may be satisfied with an American economy whose firms win in global markets without lifting U.S. living standards. But any leader with a long view understands that business has a profound stake in the prosperity of the average American.”

The authors continued to clearly lay out the importance of sharing the wealth. “Thriving citizens become more productive employees, more willing consumers, and stronger supporters of pro-business policies. Struggling citizens are disgruntled at work, frugal at the cash register, and anti-business at the ballot box.”

The full study can be found here.