Thursday, February 16, 2012
Social Class and Wealth
We had a Parent Diversity Roundtable today on the topic of social class and wealth in the United States. It was well attended, and although we really only scratched the surface in the 90 minutes allotted, it was a good beginning.
First we estimated how wealth is currently distributed in the United States between the 5 population quintiles and then estimated an ideal wealth distribution for maximizing societal well-being. We then compared our composite responses to actual US wealth distribution, with surprising and discomforting results. Our results mirrored the findings in this article, What We Know About Wealth from Harvard magazine in which two professors performed the same exercise for a large sample of Americans.
We viewed Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies, an excellent 16 minute clip from a TED talk which examines the significant negative societal impact of income inequality within prosperous democratic societies.
We discussed the ways in which working class and poor people are both condescended to and feared in our society. These two short pieces, The anger of a first-generation student , an essay from a working class student at Wellesley College and an excerpt from Nickel and Dimed in America by Barbara Ehrenreich's book of same title give two perspectives from a working class viewpoint.
Looking forward to further discussions!
Posted by Josie at 2:06 PM