September 1, 2012 - admin

Volume 38, Issue 5: Where Will Change Come From?

In a recent editorial in the New York Times (New York Times Editorial, 2012), rising income inequality and the unbalanced debt burden are identified as the reason our economy is struggling, and why (by implication), unless this situation is remedied, austerity measures are destined to fail. Clearly, this revelation does not come as news to an Occupy Movement that, if nothing else was accomplished (and we can argue there are other important outcomes), raised in the minds of most people the questions of who has and who does not have wealth, how is this inequity fueled, and what can we do to address this severely unequal income distribution. While some bumper stickers report a 425:1 ratio of average CEO to average worker salary, recent research does provide a sobering picture of 325:1 in 2010 (almost returning to the pre-2008 meltdown level of 344:1, see Anderson et al., 2011: 3). Before this movement began, the main topic of political discussions and water cooler conversations focused on two questions: How large was the deficit? What must we do to eradicate our debt? Now, a majority of the people in this country agree that inequality is a major, if not the main, problem to be addressed and rectified. But, as a friend in California writes me, if the editorial board of the New York Times now says ending income inequality is long overdue then ‘the system’ must truly be scared….

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