Tag Archives: Economic Inequality

How Class Works

This video was produced by the National Association of County and City Public Health Officals (NACCHO) as a part of thier Roots of Heath Inequality Project. The project is a web-based course for the public health workforce and “How Class Works” is one section of the course.

The social and economic origins of health inequity have been well-documented since the industrial revolution in the 1840s. Recent data demonstrates a staggering and growing degree of social and economic inequality in the U.S. not seen since the Great Depression. Rates of disease and illness for people with low income are worsening across almost all categories and geographic areas in the U.S.

In this short video, economist Richard Wolff explains our class society and applies that understanding to our current financial recession. Wolff argues that a minority class determines the way our society distributes the output and places those who receive the profits in the position of deciding how they are utilized, “…We all live with the results of what a really tiny minority in our society decides to do with the profits everybody produces.” As you watch and listen, consider what we have learned about disease and illness patterns among groups with lower income, more stress, and less control of their lives. Consider how investment decisions in neighborhoods over transportation, school facilities, parks, location of grocery stores, quality of affordable housing, etc. influenced by powerful interests, affect the quality of life for large segments of our population.

Paul Krugman: The U.S. is Becoming an Oligarchy

Bill Moyer and economist Paul Krugman discuss French economist, Thomas Pickety’s concept of Patrimonial Capitalism. Krugman explains how inherited wealth is creating tremendous inequalities in income and wealth in the United States which threaten our system of participatory democracy. He points out that as wealth continues to concentrate political influence has become limited to a very small percentage of American society which is becoming increasingly hostile to the concerns of ordinary Americans.

Paul Krugman is a Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. In 2008, Krugman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography.

Suggested Reading:

Gilens, Martin and Benjamin I. Page. 2014. Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. American Political Science Association, Washington, DC.

Stable URL (Accessed 10/27/2015): http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FPPS%2FPPS12_03%2FS1537592714001595a.pdf&code=db94ea7da72b76485eecd461067b11c3

Macfarquhar, Larissa. 2010. The Deflationist: How Paul Krugman Found Politics. The New Yorker Magazine. New York City, NY.

Stable URL (accessed 10/29/2015): http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/03/01/the-deflationist

Nick Hanauer: The Pitchforks are Coming

Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer is an unrepentant capitalist — and he has something to say to his fellow plutocrats: Wake up! Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Hear his argument about why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity … and prevent a revolution.

Further Viewing:

Majority Report: Venture Capitalist Nick Hanauer Discusses How Trickle Down Economics Fails to Create Job Growth

Nick Hanauer: Saving American Capitalism

Venture capitalist and TED Talks sensation, Nick Hanauer, explains why capitalists should be the most concerned about the staggering rise in U.S. economic inequality and the struggling middle class.