Thursday, November 20, 2008

Minding the Inequality Gap

This from the New York Times:

DURING the first 70 years of the 20th century, inequality declined and Americans prospered together. Over the last 30 years, by contrast, the United States developed the most unequal distribution of income and wages of any high-income country.

Some analysts see the gulf between the rich and the rest as an incentive for strivers, or as just the way things are. Others see it
as having a corrosive effect on people’s faith in the markets and democracy. Still others contend that economic polarization is a root cause of America’s political polarization. Could, and should, something be done?

Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, two Harvard economists, think yes. Their book, “The Race Between Education and Technology” (Harvard, $39.95), contains many tables, a few equations and a powerfully told story about how and why the United States became the world’s richest nation — namely, thanks to its schools...

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