Blog #1: The problem of wealth inequality

Land of the Free, Home of the Poor

My first thought on just reading the title “Land of the Free, Home of the Poor” is that it is right on the money. Many people from other countries come to America for a better life, future, and to one day attain the American dream of owning a house and raising their family. Many sought out for opportunities that were never ideal in their birth countries. But even with the freedom that this country provides for its people, majority of the population is still living in poverty and even with working hard, many barely make it.

After listening to the video “Land of the Free, Home of the Poor”, I was not surprised by the findings. It is obvious that the rich keeps getting richer and the poor keeps getting poorer, unless by a miracle someone wins the lottery. But in most cases those lucky ones ends up declaring bankruptcy. In the video, over 90% of the people interviewed underestimated the extent of wealth inequality by picking the Swedish wealth profile as the category they thought represented America. In a sense, everyone desires for something more than what they currently have. Modern day Marx would say we are either categorized as the ‘haves’ and the ‘have not’s’ .

Wealth Inequality in America

Yes, it was surprising. Knowing that one can’t distinguish a lower class from the middle class in today’s society, is quite shocking. The poorest Americans don’t even register on the chart, whereas only the top one percent is a billionaire. This is outrageous. A CEO does not work 380 times harder than its employees. The average worker needs to work more than a month to make what a CEO would make in an hour.  Not all people are aware of its reality but this is capitalism and the truth behind it. The ones that profits off of capitalism are the ones that control it. Some may prefer to listen and make themselves aware of these issues while the majority is only interested in Justin Bieber’s daily adventures.

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2 responses to “Blog #1: The problem of wealth inequality

  1. Very engaging post, D. You put your finger on important changes in material conditions and “class composition.” I found this comment interesting:

    “Knowing that one can’t distinguish a lower class from the middle class in today’s society, is quite shocking.”

    What do we mean by “middle class” today? Does someone with a college degree and a low-wage job (a growing phenomenon) count as “middle class”?

  2. I agree it is shocking how a CEO makes more money in an hour than the worker makes in a month, and the working person puts in a lot more hard work, and works much harder. Also In “The land of the free, home of the poor” when the woman Denise Barrant, the college student’s story to be very interesting. Since she had a degree from Lehigh University , and even took Master’s level courses and yet found herself looking for a food pantry. She basically went from high to low in a short amount of time. She went from having a job at a health insurance company making $80,000 a year along with a second job which was part time, to now being unemployed and going into poverty. She said that even the organizations such as the food pantries are having a difficult time, due to the economy. I thought her story was very interesting, especially when she said the people at the food pantry would tell her you don’t look like you belong here since you’re a college graduate.

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