Income inequality and social consequences

Please read and listen carefully to the articles and interview provided before answering the discussion questions.

1. Describe the overall trend in income inequality in the U.S. since 1970. Briefly reflect on some of the major causes of the income inequality trajectory in the U.S. discussed in the Balance article.

2. What most surprised or interested you about Nick Hanauer’s perspective on the threats posed in the future by wealth/wage inequality in the U.S.? (Be sure to mention one or two threats or he outlines in your response).

3. In your own words, briefly summarize the trajectory of income inequality compared to Western Europe since 1980, and the major reasons for this according to the economists who wrote the report on which the article for this week was based. Do you think that income/wealth inequality is congruent with American values? Why or why not (or how so/how not)?

4. Relying on the Underwood article in Science, describe the overall relationship between “health” and “wealth” (or income) in the United States. What are the factors that most likely to explain this association according to social epidemiologist Michael Marmot? What alternative explanations do (some) economists provide? Which explanations do you think best explain the disparity between health/lifespan and wealth/income according to the available data presented?

Inequality and Health Disparities Lecture

Pew Research Center 2018 Income Inequality

Income Inequality in America: Causes of Income Inequality

Zillionaire To Other Zillionaires: “Pay Up”

Comparison of Income Inequality in the U.S. versus Europe

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