Two data points, years apart:
1. In 2005-2006, Citibank analysts pointed out that the top 1% of the wealthy drives something like 99.999999% of the economy
This was originally attributed not to theft and agency capture, as we now know, but rather to a particular quality of that top 1%: dopamine:
Citigroup Oct 16, 2005 Plutonomy Report Part 1
Of course, we all know this is drek. The top 1% gets that way because they have the levers to move money to make bets and then make the bets pan out, and a little siphon on the side to get their percent. (OK, not everyone, but the financial services/real estate industry that constitutes something like 90% of that top 1%. The rest are the ones who actually succeeded by merit, and there are some who were actually smart, and not just lucky.)
2. Psychologist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Daniel Kaneman says millions of dollars won’t buy you happiness, but a job that pays $60,000 a year might help. Happiness levels increase up to the $60K mark, but “above that it’s a flat line,” he said. (Via CNN).
Thus, if we were to draw a graph of the income distribution proposed by these two data points, it would be bimodal:
As an aside, if you read the Citi memos, the 2005-2006 advice was to invest in luxury brands. The TED sponsors contain loads of brands for this upper 1% crowd. Not sure what that means, unless Dr. K is trying to say “hey, don’t worry about the great unwashed, they’re poor but they’re happy.”