Monday, 19 March 2012 08:36

Vilfredo Pareto: Men of Ideas

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Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) was an Italian economist who did significant work on income distribution and individual choices. He demonstrated that in most economies a handful of the population, 20 percent of the population, seems to have as much as the other 80% of the population. (Actually the percentages have worsened, in the USA one percent of the population own as much as the rest of the population; CEOs of America’s top corporations make as much as all their other employees lumped together. In modern societies, wealth is concentrated in a few hands.)

Basically, what Pareto contributed to economic discourse is that there exists an iron law of income inequality.

Pareto’s name (what are now called Pareto Index and Pareto Chart) is used to show inequalities in income distribution.

Pareto seems to suggest that this pattern of income distribution is mathematical and built into society hence there is very little that we can do about it. In the past we had slave societies where the many toiled for the few, then we had feudal societies where the many toiled for few aristocrats, and now we have many wage slaves toiling while a handful of economic princes (the owners of Capital and their hired top managers) live in luxury. And revolution does not seem a solution for this problem, for all that revolution does is replacing one set of lords with another.


Vilfredo Pareto. The Mind and Society. (1935).

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176