‘Drucker Apps’ 8/3/10: Rich Man, Poor Man

The Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University today added a new topic to Drucker Apps, an ongoing conversation about bettering society through effective management and responsible leadership.

This latest addition to Drucker Apps was inspired by a study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing that the income gap between the richest 1% of Americans and the middle and poorest fifths of the country more than tripled between 1979 and 2007.

Taking part in this running dialogue on income inequality will be former White House and congressional advisor Ron Haskins, who co-directs the Brookings Center on Children and Families; Sam Pizzigati, editor of Too Much, a “commentary on excess and inequality” from the Institute for Policy Studies; and Reihan Salam, policy advisor at e21 and a fellow at the New America Foundation.

As with every installment of Drucker Apps, this online dialogue is informed by the words of Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern management. In this way, Drucker Apps ties the timeless wisdom of one of the great thinkers and writers of the 20th century to the hottest issues of today, all delivered by the latest in 21st-century technology.

When the gulf between rich and poor gets too wide, Drucker cautioned, “it destroys mutual trust between groups that have to live together and work together.” Drucker was particularly worried about the fortunes of service workers—the poor cousins of today’s knowledge workers. But he also suggested that gains in productivity by service workers could eventually lift their incomes. “It takes some time—the best part of a generation, judging by historical experience—before the productivity of service workers can be raised sufficiently to provide them with a ‘middle-class’ standard of living,” he wrote.