With discussion of income inequality reaching a fever pitch—from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's "tale of two cities" message to the headline-grabbing sermons of Pope Francis—former Goldman Sachs asset management chairman Jim O'Neill believes the global economy could be at a tipping point.
"I wonder if we could be in the very early stages of a redistribution of wealth from capital back to mass income through government policies, whether it be from taxes or things being done to boost minimum wages," O'Neill told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Wednesday. "But obviously this is something else just as human beings, nevermind investors, that we all have to watch closely."
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Citing class tensions in Chile, where income inequality runs rampant and has spurred heavy tax reform proposals, O'Neill said talk of wealth concentrating among the world's elite has become "de rigueur" in the United Kingdom. Most people haven't seen their incomes rise in tandem with surging stock markets, he said.
"The elitist part of the world is still benefiting," O'Neill told CNBC.