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In this keynote lecture during the conference „The Spectre of Stagnation? Europe in the World Economy“, Till van Treek presents research on how changes in income distribution lead to macroeconomic instability and crisis, focusing on currents accounts. Treek presents the relative income hypothesis in contrast to other mainstream and Post-Keynesian explanations. The relative income hypothesis proposes that aggregate demand increases and savings decrease with rising personal income inequality due to upward looking status comparison – but effects depend on the quantile where income inequality increases. Treek points to the importance of accounting for both income and functional income distribution and underlines his arguments with data comparing different pattern in Germany and the U.S.