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.
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.