Video 2: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business-july-dec11-makingsense_08-16/
I watched the “Wealth Inequality in America” video first. I initially thought that I had a pretty good understanding of the wealth distribution in the US, however I was forced to challenge my understanding and finally had to realize just how disparate the wealth distribution is in America. Moving on to the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Poor” video, I was already given a taste of the real distribution from the previous video, and was not surprised that many people were not able to select the correct pie chart. One of the most shocking parts of the video for me was the last portion of the video when the woman participant said that she would opt to live in the society where the distribution was most disparate, her claim was that “she would have more chances of getting a piece of the larger portion if she lived in that society”. Well, we live in that society… And that is not the case! (There probably are other people that think the same way) In order to challenge their thinking, without being too passionate and going off track I would first have to help them realize that is a gross exploitation of the “poorer populations”, these people are not awarded the same quality opportunities as those who have a larger slice of the pie, but these populations, despite constant criminalization of their economic situation (These populations are in their economic situations due to policies that keep them at the lower end of the ladder), somehow still strive to want to make there way up and get a slice of the “nice part”(85%) of the pie.
With Obamas most recent State of the Union Address, he did a “great job” of selling the American Dream to the people who still have hope in “making it”. However, from these videos, it is apparent that hard work, a decent amount of formal school education, even working a 9-5 consistent job will not guarantee that you can still make a living in which you can be comfortable. It is apparent that climbing the ladder to wealth/comfortable living all comes down to networks, incentives for the wealthy and transferable wealth… Knowing this, the American dream that is being sold (what we see on television, hear in presidential speeches, etc) is a fantasy, and is maintained out of greed.
With a passion for food justice, it was easy for me to pinpoint one of the major consequences of gross capitalism: starvation and malnutrition in America. People can not make enough money to purchase decent food, people have to work so hard that they do not have the time to cook a decent meal for their families (leading to obesity), people have to work so hard at a job that does not pay them a decent wage that they are stressed and do not take care of their bodies (leading to preventable diseases, obesity, and many psychological disorders). The list goes on.
This sort of class struggle is what is driving our history: a history full of conflict, greed and politics. With Marx’s theories, he seems to be right: we have an over production of commodities (most which the workers cannot afford), Alienation of labor, globalization of capitalism, gross sense of greed and a distorted sense of ownership. It is undeniable that there needs to be a complete and open evaluation of the current condition of the United States economic distribution if we can ever conceive of a nation in which there is a sustained sense of well being of the entire population. It is hard for me to believe that the current condition of the wealth distribution is a grand design meant to keep people out, meant to kill people (literally)… What if it “just happened” due to negligence on the part of the government? If this is the case, there is needs to be a crucial overhaul of our current system of economics. No one should have to starve, suffer from preventable diseases, not be able to afford their own healthcare, not have a place to live, basically starve and die…all in the name of inequality… This are all injustices that are undeniable.