Neoclassical economist Jagdish Bhagwati argues against redistribution as a way of solving the problem of poverty.
There’s nothing surprising there. Like all other neoclassical economists, Bhagwati promotes economic growth, not redistribution, as a solution to the problem of poverty in the Third World.*
But he does worry that the “growth-first model” is, once again, being called into question, because of obscene levels of inequality. So, he does offer one suggestion:
the political sustainability of the growth-first model requires both symbolic and material efforts. While growth does benefit the poor, the rich often benefit disproportionately. So, to keep the poor committed to the system as their economic aspirations are aroused, the wealthy would be well advised to indulge less in conspicuous consumption.
* Note also that, in the world of neoclassical development economics, the redistribution of income is presented as the only alternative. What Bhagwati and other neoclassical economists fail to consider is a policy that would both eliminate poverty and create a more equitable distribution of income: a redistribution of assets.