We are working on organizing a conference on inequality.
Here is some food for thought on the subject:
Visualization of outcomes for children born in varying economic circumstances, by race and gender or, as the NY Times more directly puts it: Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys
Financialization of the economy is a major cause of inequality. See the following for background on the topic:
Runaway Inequality Is Ripping Us Apart (Les Leopold column)
(Video: The second 15 minutes is more interesting than the first half, solutions start at 22:00)
Alt Banking Column on topic Free Market Ideology is Making Society Sick
Effective indoctrination on free market (and why inequality is good)
Josh’s notes on the subject: Financialization
For a conference on socio-economic inequities:
describing the inequities,
identifying their causes,
prescribing solutions (either addressing the causes or ameliorating the effects)
are familiar generally, and especially among the choir. It’s recreating the Left Forum. Why recreate the wheel? If we started a focused annual conference on inequity, maybe that’d be something new and valuable.
Equally interesting and maybe more useful are these questions, treated without dismissiveness:
why does libertarianism appeal to so many in western culture across classes?
why did many immigrants, for example, vote for Trump?
why are people polarized politically when their interests are alike?
why are so many devoted to conspiracy explanations on the right and the left (ideologies have become little more than conspiracy theories)?
what happens to social understanding in a social media world with collapsing professional media?
So I’d be interested in a conference that addresses these:
describe the nature of political polarization and its discourse
identify its causes, social, psychological, and (within, for example, a two party system) politically structural
prescribe solutions (either addressing its causes or ameliorating the effects with structural nudges)
This would not be preaching to the choir and might actually engage all sides in self-understanding. It’s far, far from Left Forum, which strikes me a useless exercise of incest, self-congratulation and empty indignation. We all know the problems of inequity — the ordinary working public knows it too — its sources and its ideal solutions. The political problem is human nature expressed in this western culture/society.
I’d like to see change. I see the social sciences bringing new insights and understandings of human nature that bear directly on human needs and social discourse and polarization and extremities of fundamentalism. If the source of inequity is the influence of big money, which we don’t have, on politics, then why talk about political solutions at all? We should fight and protest and start Black Panther-style community support systems, not hold conferences to rehearse the well-known problems and policy solutions that are heard annually at Left Forum. But if there is a chance that the political scene can be changed — I’d like to see a discussion on that with all sides.
I think Josh’s list
is superb — comprehensive, insightful and accurate. And Shira’s distinction between inequality and inequity also right on point and important. But isn’t that just the basis of agreement? I think it would be a big waste of time to have a conference repeating that list of inequities/causes/solutions for eight hours, (-; no matter how many reputable authors at the podium are repeating them.
A libertarian former colleague posted this on Facebook. Wanted to remember it if we address this topic further.
Also, while I”m at it, should bring in the “Inequality is making us depressed” and “less inequality even if more poverty = more happy”
Also thought that this might be of interest.
I found it looking, unsuccessfully, for a NY Times article about the UN Report on Extreme Poverty in the U.S.!