Now here's a thing: the liberation of half the country from their economic and social shackles I regard as an unalloyed good thing. That this liberation of women largely came from technological causes, the "washing machine" or domestic household technology as Ha Joon Chang calls it, plus the decline in the economic importance of male musculature, doesn't matter at all. That it happened was great.

However, as recent research is showing, it has also led to an increase in the inequality of household incomes.

The argument is very simple indeed. We have moved from a society in which women tended not to work into one in which they tend to do so. And obviously, women tend to do the sort of work they are educated to achieve. Add in that people tend to meet their partners through university or work these days and it's quite clear that professionals will tend to marry professionals, blue collar blue collar and so on. We thus end up with a world in which there is a strata of society enjoying two professional incomes per household and others enjoying two white collar incomes, two two blue collar and so on. Although it does rather break down at that last: stay at home housewives are more likely to be in the working classes.

Whatever the earlier level of household income inequality we had before it's obviously going to be larger now. That a polemicist for the trade union movement is married to a GP, or that the Harman/Dromey household enjoys two, not just the one, MP salaries and allowances, makes the gap between those professional classes and the average working joe greater.

Short of the State telling people who they may shack up with there's no real way out of this either.

But what's really interesting is that that linked paper is claiming that all of the rise in US household income inequality can be put down to this one factor. And if that's so then I cannot for the life of me see that that rise in inequality is a problem. People are now much freer in their love and working lives than they used to be. That's good, in fact that's great. The side effects be damned.