The Top One Percent and Exploitation Measures

25 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2016

See all articles by Thomas E. Lambert

Thomas E. Lambert

University of Louisville

Edward Kwon

Northern Kentucky University

Date Written: September 2013


With the Occupy Movement that recently took place on Wall Street and in other parts of the globe, a lot of attention has recently been given to growing income inequality. The 2008 United States financial crisis, the Great Recession, and the subsequent weak recovery have brought about a more serious focus on income inequality and the widening income gap between the top one percent and other groups. These events have brought about some social unrest and instability in American society perhaps not seen since the Great Depression. How much has the top 1 percent of households gained in terms of income versus the other 99 percent in the United States over the last 30 years or so? Mainstream economists and other social scientists point to various causes which have been mentioned in many scholarly and popular writings. All of these mainstream factors affecting inequality have been found to be statistically significant in one scholarly study or another. This research paper explores other major concepts to explain income inequality rather than to dispute the findings of other existing research efforts. The empirical findings of this paper support radical arguments that income accumulation of those at the top is not connected to the productivity of capital investment, but rather instead is connected to the declining incomes and exploitation of the rest of the US population despite the rising output per worker of the US workforce over the last 30 to 40 years.

Keywords: income inequality, rate of exploitation, surplus value, top 1 percent, 99 percent

JEL Classification: B51, C50, D33, D63, H53

Suggested Citation

Lambert, Thomas E. and Kwon, Edward, The Top One Percent and Exploitation Measures (September 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Thomas E. Lambert (Contact Author)

University of Louisville ( email )

Economics Dept.
Louisville, KY 40292

Edward Kwon

Northern Kentucky University ( email )

Nunn Drive
Highland Heights, KY 41099
United States

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