What the U.S. Needs is Broader Economic Opportunity rather than Less Inequality

My recent posts have been directed primarily to the issue of racism, real and perceived, in American society.  My conclusion is that black social advancement (and a decrease in racism) will be aided by faster black economic advancement.  This, in turn, depends on blacks developing a greater sense of personal agency, i.e. a better appreciation that they have control over their own destiny.

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But really, this argument applies much more generally than just to minority advancement.  I think the issue of economic inequality in the U.S. is vastly overhyped.  Consider, for example:

  • Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, worth $180 billion, is the wealthiest person in the world.  But the social value of Amazon, which he created, is far greater than his own personal wealth.  Being able to have almost any product in the world shipped to one’s doorstep overnight at a low price is incredibly valuable.  Perhaps Amazon should be more tightly regulated as a monopoly but that’s a separate issue.
  • Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway, worth $70 billion, lives in Omaha NE where I also live. His great wealth has been an enormous benefit to Omaha over the years.

Income inequality is caused primarily by the growth of technology and the globalization of commerce.  Both of these trends, getting stronger all the time, are producing enormous societal wealth overall but people with education and technical skills benefit the most. 

The solution to this problem should be quite clear:

  • Provide more economic opportunity for those on the bottom by:
  • Keeping the unemployment rate as low as possible, ideally under 4%, to create more job openings, and
  • Improving educational outcomes at all levels: K-12 and above. Not everyone needs to go to college.  But everyone needs skills of some sort, whether technical or intellectual.

Conclusion:  What minorities and all low-income people need most is more economic opportunity.  Growing income and wealth inequality is a distracting bugaboo.  It needs to be recognized as an inevitable consequence of human progress, rather than a stumbling block to individual advancement.

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2 thoughts on “What the U.S. Needs is Broader Economic Opportunity rather than Less Inequality

  1. Unfortunately, the ethnography of human suffering for our black citizens has evolved for a long time. Possibly for some, it began before their forced emigration to North America. Unfortunately, the character of a community’s civil life “runs-on” how fast we recognize each other during our many encounters. Studies of neurologic activation upon encountering easily recognizable versus less recognizable scenarios reveal different initial activation time sequences. Unfortunately, the more prominent a person’s characteristic appears, the more likely the result is more likely to result in a negative or absent social interaction. The studies of women entering a workforce are instructive. When they represent 3-5%, they were more likely to represent mostly a tolerable anomaly without a need for any special accommodation. But, when reaching 10-30%, they began to more likely represent a nuisance for which the increasing need for accommodation could represent a threat. Finally, when reaching 40-50% of a work-place, cooperation and increasing levels of social capital characterized the work-place.

    The population growth experts predict that by @2050, the “white non-Hispanic” class of citizens will become less than 50% of all citizens. In the meantime, we best fix our nation’s capabilities, community by community, to prevent, mitigate, and ameliorate the human suffering that each woman suffers during a pregnancy beginning at conception and thereafter during each child’s early childhood development.

    • One way or the other, we must do a better job of bringing blacks into mainstream American economic advancement. Early childhood education will help a lot. What you are saying, I think, is that we may have to start even earlier in life, when black women are pregnant. You may well be right. You’re the primary care, medical expert!

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