Week 15 – Final Week of Class Review for Final Exam – Overview of main concepts

For the last week of class we will be going over main concepts and data trends covered throughout the semester. The readings for this week are:

  1. Neckerman, Kathryn M., and Florencia Torche. 2007. “Inequality: Causes and Consequences.” Annual Review of Sociology 33(1):335–57.
  2. Firebaugh, Glenn. 2000. “The Trend in Between-Nation Income Inequality.” Annual Review of Sociology 26(1):323–39.

I recommend you finish the readings before carefully going over my PowerPoint presentation with voiceover where I explain important ideas and concepts covered in the readings. I also update the data discussed in the papers with more recent figures.

Throughout this course we’ve focused our discussions inequality trends and patterns around the world, whilst trying to understand its causes and consequences. I would like us to finish the course by thinking about possible solutions. With that in mind, watch the video below, where Arjun Jayadev and Branko Milanovic “discuss possible policy solutions to inequality, including opening borders and raising taxes on capital gains”

Lecture Post Questions:

Please note that this lecture post is worth double and are now due on Monday

On the comments section below, address the following questions (answers should be at least 100 words in length and posted by Monday – This is how participation points are assessed. Please save your comments in a safe document before attempting to post it.

  1. From  my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?
  2. From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?
  3. Based on the the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?
  4. What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?

21 thoughts on “Week 15 – Final Week of Class Review for Final Exam – Overview of main concepts

  1. 1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?

    I know that there is an uneven distribution of wealth, but is there a way to fix that? I don’t know why but I pictured in my head that wealth is something we cannot take away from people, so I assumed this is an issue we do not have the power to fix. I also thought about how unequal opportunities are for someone who is trying to be successful and attain the American Dream in the US. I am aware that it is unequal, but I still strive to be successful because there I don’t really have any other strategy of social mobility. It feels like a rigged game of chance that I have no other option but to take part in. To resolve the issue of inequality in America is very difficult for me to think about because I consider both sides of it being an independent variable and a dependent variable. I fear that the attempt of mending the consequences of inequality won’t do much because of the causes of inequality.

    2. From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?

    The reading “Inequality: Causes and Consequences.” by Neckerman et al. stated that older individuals and also those who have higher educational attainment had higher wages among the population during the 1990s. I did not understand why older people would have higher wages than other age groups but I did understand why those with higher education would. In the reading by Firebaugh, I was confused about what converging economies meant. I did not understand “diminishing returns to capital and labor” (Firebaugh, 2000). Regarding the issue with using dollars as a conversion rate for PPP, how could there be a way to convert currency that is appropriate for all nations? Is there a way to gather a mean of the values of all currency? I understand why the dollar is used since it is very valuable.

    3. Based on the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?

    Moving labor could cause issues when they might offend cultural norms. It is difficult because it is not empirical. Opening borders could intimidate people. For immigrants, civic rights are limited and employment rights are the same as other citizens. We need migration and so there has to be some kind of compromise. High-quality equation should be accessible to everybody. Higher taxes can limit the growth of the rich. There should be high-quality rights for all to level out the playing field to a fair one, taxing the wealth that is inherited, and there being more capital ownership among the middle class. Labor income should increase among the population to level out the uneven wealth distribution. Informing the public about wages so that there can be less gender inequality on wages. A solution I could add is there to be more supervision in work environments for discrimination against their workers since there can be many incidents that might not come to light. This could be in a form of weekly check-ins where complaints can be kept anonymous and ensuring the safety of the victims.

    4. What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?

    The most important thing I learned this semester is that inequality is difficult to study due to all the different factors to consider. As well as there being difficulty in finding accurate data. Inequality is studied as a dependent variable and independent variable because it matters what is causing it as well as the consequences. This week’s lecture showed how inequality through a lens that showed stratification among people in the US population. I liked to see this information on how unequal opportunities are for people who are black or nonwhite since it is an issue that has gone on for too long. There shouldn’t be such prejudices against people who just want to be successful.

    • Hi Natalie,
      The video was interesting as it gave an overview on the different policy solutions that can be implemented to combat inequality. I think the two policies that were discussed would be a great way to reduce inequality because I believe that wealth should be taxed, and the border should be open to drives and attract migration and the flow of money in the country. Family wealth is being transfer from one generation to the another which gives a cycle within the family. Therefore, due to the family background the child gets an ahead starts in life which allows the child to get access to high quality resources and attend the most affluent schools. This result in the child having greater advantages socially and economically in society compared to a child of a poorer background.

  2. Question #1:
    It’s shocking that this is the last Presentation and lecture post of the semester, but as always, this was enjoyable and I liked how the Powerpoint went over concepts that summed up the course. Such as going back to the definition of what inequality is. What I had a hard time wrapping my head around was how the majority of Americans and Canadians reported that “having ambition” is more important than “race” or “having wealthy parents/coming from a wealthy family”. While having ambition and an aspiration to succeed is definitely essential, when you inherit wealth and already have an opulent family, that’s important because of the status it brings one toward. Not only are you most likely going to be better off than a large percentage of people, but that’s the reason why society is unfair since it gives others an advantage that they have already when born.

    Question #2:
    Not that this was unclear, but it was interesting to see the trend in the “Inequality: Causes and Consequences” reading. Neckerman discusses how the rich in the U.S are more saddened by state inequality than the poor. The reverse holds to be the case however in Europe. What indeed was confusing by this part, was exactly the definition of state-level inequality. Moreso, in terms of why the trends within European countries and America differ in levels of happiness. I thought that no matter what the poor would be the most somber in dealing with any type of inequality because in any such situation, they don’t have much that would rule in their favor. Besides this, both Neckermans and Firebaughs reading were well informed and lucid.

    Question #3:
    The main takeaways are the types of rights one is entitled to in relation to inequality. Migration is one such example. When someone comes to the U.S in hopes of a better life, whatever job they get hired for, no matter what they should be paid the same as someone else who might’ve been born in the states. Only time I feel that one’s pay is subject to change is with how much experience they’ve had in that field. Jayadev also makes a great point about Universalism and how everyone deserves to have the right to an education. There are thousands of uneducated children/adults in poor countries who lack the basic understanding of society because of this privilege they were not exposed to. This also acknowledges the people who do attend school, but drop out or fail to complete it. While this is one of the biggest & significant solutions to surely subdue inequality, funding and programs must be organized so that third world countries can start having more people with a good education. Milanovic also mentions policies of taxing capital and inheritance more which, I agree, would be powerful in reaching equilibrium within the total distribution. Jayadev and Milanovic both did an excellent job in mentioning all solutions that I had as well.

    Question #4:
    With the amount of things I’ve learned, it’s hard to pinpoint what the most important topic is. While all of the readings and lectures shared a common insight into inequality and what causes it, I believe that the race within education and technology are the real focus to how inequality came to be. When you look at the richest country in the world, the U.S, you see a variety of schooling and resources available. While the U.S still remains unequal and focuses largely on benefiting higher classes, compared to other populated areas such as India or China, the U.S wins in educating millions of individuals. This is one reason why most of the world’s billionaires/trillionaires are located in the U.S. Technology is another uprise to countries becoming more unequal by the day. As technology becomes more advanced, this may replace a regular working class person or only source out those who are the most highly skilled that can operate and account for these machines. This is why inequality increases dramatically as new inventions and efforts are established that can get a job done faster and cheaper too. I can continue to list all of the new knowledge I’ve gained in this course, but the main importance is with what WE can do to control levels of inequality now and from affecting future generations.

    • Hi paul,
      The reading “Inequality; causes and consequence” was an eye opening as it talks about many different factors that contributed to income inequality between and within nations. A section of the reading that captured my attention was when it mentioned the consequence of intergenerational transfer of wealth. In the United States intergeneration is common because wealthy parents normally transfer their wealth to the next generation. This allow the child or family to accumulated income and assets from their parents. Therefore, upward mobility Is easier for this child because their parents already set the foundation of advantage privilege for that child compared to a child of a poor background that have to faced structural barriers in society or struggle with upward mobility.

  3. 1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?
    The PowerPoint was very clear as it wraps up everything, we have learned in the semester so far. I agreed that wealth is more unevenly distributed than income and this is why I believe that all wealth should be tax because wealth is moving from one generation to another and this gives the family a head start in life both economically and socially. The reason I believe that a policy should be implemented that tax wealth that is inherited is the primary reason that a person class and capitals have a strong correlation of that person having access to better education and securing better jobs and families of a poorer background can be affected by structural barriers and having a thin chance of competing against the rich in the job market.

    2. From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?
    It was interesting to know that the level of economic disparities remains the same after World War II in the United States. Also, income inequality among the rich and others was not driven by capital income by the labor market and investment earning. The upswing of inequality was already rising before the evolution of computer technology into the workforce even though the technology was spreading more in the workforce. This result of inequality was not because of job instability but more of wage growth and wage losses due to displacing such as technological changes which are based on a person’s skill and educational attainment.

    3. Based on the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?
    The video highlights the different policy solutions to inequality. Two examples that Arjun and Brank discuss that could deal with inequality and global inequality are; raising taxes on capital gain and border opening. Opening the border focuses on migration and how it can help poverty and GED growth that revolves around the moving of capital and free mobility of labor. Also, the movement of labor has a consequence due to cultural differences and norms that these people will bring into the destination country. He mentioned migrants having access to rights by which they should get full right to employment right and as to citizenship right there should be limits. On the other hand, raising taxes on capital gain by which he talks about capital ownership. Wealth can be a cycle from one generation to another. The wealth that is inherited should be a tax which will decrease the advantage of that wealth. Also, education should be structure in a way that income level should not determine one’s schools everyone should have access to high-quality schools because the rich tense to be privilege regarding competition in the job market.

    4.What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?
    The most important thing that I have learned throughout the semester is the different factors that cause inequality within countries and nations such as the malign and benign factors. Now I can have a conversation by highlight the different factors that are driving up inequality. Also, learned about the Kuznets curves which explained the relationship between economic growth and inequality and the coefficient. And I know how to differentiate between the Kuznets curves and Kuznets waves. The Kuznets waves can be used to explain the change inequality in the different eras. Also, it was interesting to see that what we actually learning we are experiencing now. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic and the shift of jobs to a digital platform leave some communities vulnerable especially minorities. I like how we discuss the different factors that contributed to inequality such as education and skills. And that one’s birth location can determine their outcomes in life due to citizenship rent and penalty.

  4. Q.1- From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?

    A.1- Based on watching over the power point presentation, one major topic I found interesting were the differences between income and wealth. I personally always thought they meant somewhat of the same thing which I do admit on the mix up on terminology. I had no idea that wealth was much more unevenly distributed than income. I also had a bit of trouble understanding the wording in the concept of inequality of opportunity. Is it just another way of saying that it is unequal to move up in class based on our parents? Other than that, I pretty much understood the overall basis of the power point and what was conveyed.

    Q.2- From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?

    A.2- From going over the readings “Inequality: Causes and Consequences” and “The Trend in Between-Nation Income Inequality”, the two things I found the most interesting have to do with what I stated in the previous question. The fact that income and wealth are not the same thing and my confusion about inequality of opportunity and what it truly means. In addition to this, I found that the consequences of inequality were very important because it repeats to us that the number one result of increasing inequality is that it will benefit those that are wealthy and continue to be a disadvantage to the lower class. Majority of people already know this because of prior knowledge or common sense but I found this to be important because it is still a common problem around the world.

    Q.3- Based on the the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?

    A.3- As I watched the video the main takeaways have to do with possible policy solutions. For example, the idea of opening up borders, I believe would greatly benefit the nation in terms of reducing inequality mainly because of the many jobs that would efficiently be occupied and created. The only way this would be able to work would be by working on the civil rights of immigrants by giving them the same opportunities as someone born within the country instead of degerming their wages simply by their gender, class or race. By accomplishing this I believe that inequality would go towards the way of reduction slowly but surely. In addition to this, by providing comfort and opportunity to immigrants, the economy of the country would begin to fluctuate due to the amount of opportunities their children will be exposed to if their parents are started off with help.

    Q.4- What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?

    A.4- Thinking back to the beginning of this class, I somewhat already had an idea of the economy and how it related to inequality, but after reading various texts, watching videos and partaking in the lecture, I can definitely say that my concept of the topic has expanded. One major fact that I has stuck with me within this entire course was that inequality continues to be one of the world’s biggest problems. The way it affects the many citizens of all countries by further creating disparities between them only shows how in many ways the rich only get richer and the poor either stay the same or become poorer. After learning how deep inequality can go and the many levels and ways it affects us, it only leaves me with the thought on whether us as a civilization will ever strive towards a definite solution to greatly reduce this.

    • Hi Gabriel,

      The video was interesting because it aligned with some of the reading, we discussed in class regarding policy solutions such as the flow of migration. The border should be open which allows people to work and move their capital easily. Migrants should have full rights to have access to all employment rights and as gaining citizenships there should be limits. Migration helps a country in so many ways such as the transfer of skills, knowledge and innovation ideas. When people move their capital in a country it can also help the development and economic growth of that countries. Even though the video mentioned that there can be some cultural conflict or norms but I think that if we have strong policies and laws people will have no option than to assimilated to the country way of life such like immigrates had to because I was from a complete different background and culture and when I came to American I still can be me but I had to abide by the country laws.

  5. 1. PowerPoint presentation was clear and informative. I appreciate the PowerPoint lectures always help me and reinforce what we discuss in class.

    2. The readings were clear. The concepts and ideas were clear. The reading discusses economic disparities. Talking about lower- upper tail inequality. Also introducing the Polarization thesis. Explaining institutional changes and the impacts it may have on inequality. The articles abstract starts off by mentioning. “ the increase in economic disparities over the past 30 years has prompted extensive research on the causes and consequences of inequality both in the united States and, more recently, globally” (Neckerman &Torche 2007: 335). The text emphasizes on the main idea, and main concept of the importance of economic disparities and the consequences due to these economical differences. Neckerman and Torchemention shed light that the topic is a global issue. The second reading discusses national divergence. Discussing the distribution, and how highly uneven it is across nations. The article explains that between-nation inequality is the bigger component. Unequal distribution is more likely to cause the long-run divergence of national incomes. However, the article says that from data we gather, we can conclude that between nation inequality has stabilized in recent decades. The article discusses Thomas Malthus, and we read other works of his, that determined Malthus crisis, that can drive inequality. Mentioning that he along with others believed that humankind might be doomed. The fear emerged from the idea that economic growth would be unlikely to outpace population growth. “Economic growth will serve to increase the size of the human population, but it will not boost living standards over the long run” (Firebaugh 2000: 324). Economist and social scientist have been right about the population growth but wrong about the population trap. Explaining that the the Industrial revolution was followed by an increase, and unprecedented increase in population. “1820 the worlds population was about 1.1 million, today the worlds population is over six billion” (Firebaugh 2000:324).

    3. The video discusses the rise in capital share, and why and how it should be stopped. Branko Milanovic and Arjun Jayadev discuss what influences inequality. Discussing topics such as birth, citizenship, gender, policies, and how they all impact the percentage of an individual’s chance to escape poverty or join the poverty. They discuss borders, and what will happen if borders are removed. The video discusses the difference in labor markets. On the topic, they mentioned the “compromise solution”. Explaining that the local population would be more likely to accept migrants if migrants are less likely to share in the citizenship rent. Explaining two categories civic rights being partially shared and employment right should be fully shared. The intro spoke about the importance of a solution, that if we do not go for a flexible solution, we risk the chance of negative outcomes. No migration, No reduction in global inequality, no reduction in global poverty, no growth in GDP. Also talked about Universalism, it was a proposal for certain rights. High quality of education for everybody. Dual, or multiple systems. Good health. And basic environment. He proposes equal share of environment. Everyone should have high quality rights. Speaking about the rich and their pensions, health, and education. They discuss what is happening within different classes. Discussing the different services and goods. They also discussed taxation. Deconcentrating of capital. Capital is highly concentrated. Discussed the top shareholders of the world’s economy. Not only because of inflation, but because of return to wealth. Discusses the “curse of wealth”. Rise in capital share. The video also discussed what we have been reading, talking about Transmission of advantages. What a child inherits may enable the child to be poor or rich. Wealth is inherited from generation to generation. They both also discussed education disparity. The last thing discussed was gender, and the inequality women face in the labor force.

    4. I have gained a lot from the course. (course name) Studying Global inequality in depth throughout the course, has made me aware of many things. Knowing the factual events and obtaining global data allows the world understand reality. Studying various of events that were crucial to the development of economic history. Leading to any type of inequality that we see in this world today. From Poor or rich living conditions, allowing classes to emerge in society. Learning about benign and malign forces that drive Kuznets curves (waves) allows me to understand the economic state of different nations in present day. The class read material, and authors discussed their perspective on inequality and poverty. Some discussed “what it really means to be poor”, as an ethical issue. Helps you escape from an egocentric perspective and think about other nations in the world. Learning about Gini coefficient has helped me analyze data, and data we hear often during our daily lives. Different nations have different measurements that determine if a Gini is categorized as high or low. Two sides being measured are closer to the side of perfect equality or the total inequality side. Ginis help understand inequality within different nations, with proper data and empirical work, and research. I also learned in Depth the topic of “Household per capita income”. The PPP was a new concept to me, (Purchasing Power Parity). Learning its importance and how it contributes to global inequality. Branko Milanovic has been one of my favorite authors to read throughout the semester. His style of teaching and discussing the subject resonates with me.

  6. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share? I liked the power point presentations. Until this day all of them have been clear and if not the videos have helped to clarify the concepts. I like this last lesson a lot. I am focusing more on all the information and it is great.This lesson is pretty much about wealth how wealth is managed and seen as in society. I try my best to always achieve my goals, it is unfair that because of money some people of low income do not get the same opportunities as others who do have the wealth are always a step ahead.
    2.From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear? I honestly was confused about everything at first and although i understand the theory part which are mostly readings, i don’t think i understand the math in inequality which are the graphs to identify how high or low inequality is in a country or state. GINI for example. Is hard to understand but with time I have gotten better identifying.
    3.Based on the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add? I believe a solution to a lot of these issues would be on the way society views things and how the government deals with things. For example not judging people on what they have in a bank account but also on who they are and what they are capable of doing. A lot more people come to America with hunger to be better and build an empire by hard work and effort, smart, creative and decent people should be given a chance too.
    4.What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?I learned that global inequality is a worldwide issue. I learned that things have gotten out of control over time. Global inequality class has been a very eye opening and informative course. I wish i would have taken the class in person. I really tried to understand the lessons and connect to them. I learned that by being educated we can make a difference in the world. It is a choice to be ignorant nowadays.

  7. 1. The presentation was clear. The figure of the survey of American vs Canadians was pretty interesting and it made me thing about what Neckerman & Torche say about the US being an exception to the median voter hypothesis and politicians being unresponsive to the interests of low-income voters. Isn’t one of the reasons this belief in the myth of the American dream, that if you’re ambitious enough and work hard enough then you can make it? It seems to me, that due to propaganda for the myth of the American dream and against socialist leaning policies like redistribution that a lot of Americans don’t even believe in redistribution, so why would American politicians care to pass redistributive polices.
    2. The readings were pretty clear, felt mostly like review of what we’ve learned so far. Something interesting to me is that the Neckerman & Torche reading talks of research done in the relation of inequality and crime, considering inequality as an independent variable. I was wondering if there is a lot of research on inequality as a dependent variable of crime, i.e. our criminal justice system coupled with the prison industrial complex leads to more inequality. Prisons are disproportionately made of people of color and people with mental health issues (which are often made worse by incarceration), and it seems a criminal record worsens their chance of finding employment & housing. A lot of former inmates also leave prison in debt due to fees related to their crime and stay in prison, and so up to 100% of their salary can be taken to take care of these. This is also why recidivism is so high.
    3. The main takeaway of the video is that there are several solutions to global inequality that could drastically reduce inequality. One solution is to open borders, which would allow for the movement of labor between countries and could increase GDP of countries by a lot. However, Branko explains that a lot of people don’t like this idea due to what is basically nationalism. People believe that a country should care for its own people and interests, and others coming in will be taking their opportunities, they will also bring beliefs different from theirs, and there is the question of which rights to give them. Another solution is the idea of universalism, that there are some rights that everyone should have like free quality education for everyone, universal health care, etc. Another solution is to tax high- income earners more and to tax inheritance as well. I don’t really have a solution to add, mainly cause they’re trying to address global inequality, and I’m usually an optimist but that sounds incredibly impossible to solve.
    4. I think the most important thing I learned this semester was how inequality is measure and overall, all of the data that the professor has provided. From previous classes and just instinctively, I knew that inequality in the US is relatively high and has been increasing for a long time so I’m definitely better equipped to get into arguments with some people.

  8. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?
    The PowerPoint presentation was clear. It was very informative.

    From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?
    This was an interesting reading. In the reading I was confused about the sections on education. The readings state that Mayer “find that state-level inequality is associated with higher return to schooling, highest state spending for education, lower college tuition and higher income Segregation, But that only higher state spending, lower college tuition, and returns to schooling had an impact on education”. Can you explain this section a little more please.

    Based on the the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?
    There was a lot of information given in the video. I was a little confused about the main takeaway in the video.

    What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?
    There was a lot of important information I learned this semester. This semester I learned that inequality is a permanent factor all over the world. I didn’t realize how big of an issue inequality was and how it affected many people. This course has taught me a lot of important.

  9. 1.Everything in the powerpoint was clear. I don’t have any comments on it.
    2.From the readings, I felt that everything was pretty clear as well. One of the readings also was great to be able to see a more in-depth understanding of the results of inequalities in all aspects of life..
    3.There were a few takeaways from the video. One of them being the compromise solution, particularly on the topic of a bundle of rights depending on the situation. It mentioned one on employment and one on civic rights. I agree with one of the solutions being universalism that it’s important that everyone should have equal access to the same quality of things, especially in the same country because then people will have fair chances at competing. Things like education would be a lot more useful for those who don’t have access to good quality one because they will be able to change their situations whereas they cannot in the area of money. This can be done by putting more funding into communities and making it so that it’s easy to gain access to and not feel discouraging when going after the opportunity. Even if people do have access to opportunities, they sometimes feel they can’t keep going because of other outside factors.
    4.Looking back at the whole semester, there were a few things I thought were important from this course. One of them being how inequality is measured. Although it wasn’t new, it was that inequality doesn’t look the same everywhere in the world. That I felt was very important because sometimes people don’t realize that situations can be worse and a lot of times are worried about what they are missing or don’t have instead of looking at their blessings and everything that they do have.

  10. 1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?
    The PowerPoint presentation was clear, and I appreciated the review of the main concepts from the papers. I also appreciated the review of the purpose of abstracts and the fact that the Annual Review of Sociology journal only publishes review papers. Another review I appreciated was that global inequality studies must answer the three basic questions regarding: trends between nation and within nations and whether larger population nations are growing economically at a pace that is different from other countries.
    2. From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?
    The readings were clear, and further clarified by the PowerPoint presentation. The one point that I wish the authors expanded further on was their mention of how some transitory components of inequality were attributed to a “displacement”. This same displacement was a consequence of intensified wage growth and deeper wage losses that occurred during the 1990s. I was unsure what displacement the authors were referring to, although the inkling I had was that by displacement they meant the change of a balance between wage dynamics (losses and growth) that were experienced by different social classes.
    3. Based on the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?
    The main takeaways of the video are that social inequality, as experienced by individuals in a population, is largely dependent on certain variables. These variables include race, gender, place of birth (and one could argue time of birth as well), education, and health. In the video, they discuss labor and capital and their relationship. They consider how one creates changes in the other, such as how labor creates capital and vice versa. They discuss how movement to different countries, people bring cultural norms and potentially argue that there are bad and good customs that undermine good customs in one country. This made me think of earlier lecture posts that discussed how social inequality is often reiterated by illegal or thuggish ways. Milanovic considers migration as a solution, in which he comprises by saying that indigenous population will accept migrants if migrants will have a lower likely of gaining the same citizenship privileges as the indigenous population. This is a negative relationship, and therefore this threshold must be determined by each country in order to arrive at a comprise that will enable migration and the employment of immigrants.
    4. What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?
    The most important thing I have learned throughout the semester is how much one’s status at birth determines their growth throughout their life course. Socioeconomic status at birth is an incredibly difficult thing to improve. Learning about the veil of ignorance was possible the most important and intriguing concept that goes hand in hand with the lack of social mobility most people experience. The veil of ignorance forces one to consider the stark inequalities of this world, and how little opportunity for growth there really is.

  11. 1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?
    • Everything from the PowerPoint was clear

    2. From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?
    • I honestly understood all the concepts from the reading especially from the reading of Nickerman inequality causes and consequences every concept was clear.

    3. Based on the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?

    • The main takeaway from the video is how to deal with inequality that has to do with Gender, place of birth and parents to whom someone was born to. The video also touched points on how free mobility, of labor can make inequality maybe higher or even possibly lower inequality. Another point that was touched in the video, was about how to break the link between functional inequality and interpersonal inequality, which involves taxing capital and inheritance and to also provide capital ownership to the middle class. The final takeaway that stuck out to me was about how workers have lost decades of wage gain due to the fact of phantom inflation which also followed by the thought of the national rate of unemployment should be removed.

    4. What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?
    • The most important thing that I’ve learnt this semester is about income inequality and how resources are unequally distributed amongst people based on various reasons such as race, parents and even skin color. What really caught my attention was how someone’s income can be determined by who they parents are that’s one major thing that stood out to me and really opened my eyes because I never really knew that. Another thing that I’ve learnt was about how the people of Brazil described themselves and the fact that they felt as if being a lighter skin complexion gives them greater opportunities in life. I also learnt about the effects of globalization and how that also added to the growth of inequality and the consequences that inequality has on the economy.

  12. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?

    1.The powerpoint was very clear and direct as it wraps up the class. It is shocking to see that most of the wealth is contained in the top 1% of families, but what’s even more shocking is that wealth is more unevenly distributed than inequality. I had always assumed these two would be the same since they can go hand to hand.

    From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?

    2.The readings are very clear and give me an overview of many topics we’ve discussed in class.
    In the reading “Inequality: causes and consequences”, the ties to inequality and health was a bit complicated to my understanding. Inequality is “bad for health because it undermines social capital”. I understand how this is true, but I see a lot of welfare support in American and even western countries that can benefit the health of those that are on it.

    3.Based on the the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?

    One of my main takeaways is how important boarders play into global inequality. Opening borders can play a good role and bad role as well. Accepting migration is something that more countries should look into because people going into new countries do reap benefits. They aren’t fully citizens nor are they somewhat so they cannot receive the same benefits that citizens of that country do. Another interesting solution that I agree with Arjun is about universalism. Having education being free and available to everyone can literally shape inequality and create better opportunities in countries that practice this. This statement itself is sometimes tricky to me because where I am from (Bangladesh), college is universally free but lacks being available to everyone because of the poverty line.

    4. What is the most important thing you think youve learned this semester?
    The most important thing that I’ve learned this semester was how complicated inequality is and what are its factors. It’s easy to say things such as “there is a high level of inequality”, but to understand why this is the case is imperative. To understand the variables that differ inequality amongst people and nations is something to really look into because it gives a whole new understanding to why this “world is so uneven”.

  13. 1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?
    The PowerPoint was clear for the most part and the concept that I found interesting was that because China’s population is rising more countries are becoming economically richer. That’s due to the amount of items they export and import, because of this business rises for all countries in trade with China. However, I did not realize that Latin America’s inequality has been decreasing for decades. I wonder if covid is causing an increase or decrease in money distribution for South America?

    2. From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?
    The readings were very clear in my opinion and there were a few concepts that I found interesting. In the first reading the fact that the past decade there has been a big cause in inequality due to changes in institutional dynamics. In the second reading, economic distribution was the main topic. Inequality is increasing and has been increased over the past decade and it is even more so between-nations on a global scale. The Malthus crisis was mentioned as well, he stated that economic growth would cause population growth and that we would all have no future, evidence of this is when he states that “economic growth will serve to increase the size of the human population, but it will not boost living standards over the long run” (Firebaugh, 324).

    3.Based on the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?
    The topic that I found to be the most prominent in this video was the proposition that if we do tax the rich more and help our citizens evolve financially and education wise, we cannot evolve as a country. Firstly, the video proposed that the local population would be more likely to accept immigrants if migrants were less likely to share in the citizenship rent, this being more policies such as immigration policies. Secondly, High quality education should be available for access to everyone and taxes should increase so the rich could contribute more of their money to the overall population. Rich countries become richer because they have access to factors that could help them accumulate wealth such as smarter people, more companies, better industrialization, bigger armies, etc.

    4. What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?
    The most important lesson I learned this semester is that global inequality has a lot to do with the rich. Because we live in the United States our economy is capitalist and it just so happens that our richest population accumulates most of our wealth, leaving our poor at an extreme difference when we compare the two (wealthy and poor in the USA). Learning how each country has their own economic system and even idealizations also fascinated me, Brazil being the most interesting to me because their ideologies and beauty standards differ so much yet mimic the USA.

  14. 1.The presentation was clear and simple to follow. I enjoyed the grass because I was able to have a visualization of the main concepts of the reading. It was also refreshing to look back into one of our first lessons to remind us about what inequality is again and the different ways to define it.

    2.Both of the readings aligned with what we have been discussing in class throughout this whole semester. Before it was interesting to see how inequality was within the United States just because we are so used to discussing inequality and poverty in poor countries and although inequality in the US is high it is still a rich country. and the reading is stated that in the US state-level inequality seemed to lower happiness among the rich but not the poor I just found that really interesting because I would have thought the opposite.

    3.The video talks about the different policies and solutions to inequality. one of their points was that opening the borders will reduce global poverty and global inequality as well as gains of GDP. It can change the community with gender inequality as well as the movement of goods and global mobility. people that have migrated to the United States have helped with the Academy and such but many are against it because of greed basically, afraid that they’ll disrupt or take opportunities from the ones they were born in the U.S. one of the solutions was that people would accept it more if migrants are less likely to share the citizenship rent which is a rent that a person receives if he or she happens to be born in a rich country which to me are certain rights. I personally cannot think of a solution for global inequality just because It’s so broad and a solution that I would pick wouldn’t be ideal for the real world.

    4.The most important thing I learned this semester is how different inequality can be depending on which country you are talking about and how it is measured. It was definitely an eye-opener and I see the world differently now. I’m sure we all knew that the U.S had high inequality rates but this course has broadened my knowledge on that. One of the discussions that really stuck with me was learning about malign and benign factors and how much of an impact it has on reducing or increasing inequality amongst countries throughout the years.

  15. 1.The presentation was clear and simple to follow. I enjoyed the grass because I was able to have a visualization of the main concepts of the reading. It was also refreshing to look back into one of our first lessons to remind us about what inequality is again and the different ways to define it.

    2.Both of the readings aligned with what we have been discussing in class throughout this whole semester. Before it was interesting to see how inequality was within the United States just because we are so used to discussing inequality and poverty in poor countries and although inequality in the US is high it is still a rich country. and the reading is stated that in the US state level inequality seemed to lower happiness among the rich but not the poor I just found that really interesting because I would have thought the opposite.

    3.The video talks about the different policies and solutions with inequality. one of their points was that opening the borders will reduce global poverty and global inequality as well as gains of GDP. It can change the community with gender inequality as well as movement of goods and global mobility. people that have migrated to the United States have helped with the Academy and such but many are against it because of greed basically, afraid that they’ll disrupt or take opportunities from the ones they were born in the U.S. one of the solutions was that people would accept it more if migrants are less likely to share the citizenship rent which is a rent that a person receives if he or she happens to be born in a rich country which to me are certain rights. I personally cannot think of a solution for global inequality just because It’s so broad and a solution that I would pick wouldn’t be ideal to the real world.

    4.The most important thing I learned this semester is how different inequality can be depending which country you are talking about and how it is measured. It was definitely an eye opener and I see the world differently now. I’m sure we all knew that the U.S had high inequality rates but this course has broaden my knowledge on that. One of the discussions that really stuck with me was learning about malign and benign factors and how much of an impact it has on reducing or increasing inequality amongst countries throughout the years.

  16. 1. From my PowerPoint presentation, what isn’t clear? Any thoughts or comments you would like to share?

    I understood the slides, very clearly. A bit sad that this is our last post. I enjoyed the class very much, but I do have one question, how can we make the United States more equal? how would we have to redistribute wealth?

    2. From the readings, any concepts or ideas that are not clear?

    From, Inequality: Causes and Consequences

    – Were the authors trying to say that holistically inequality has hollowed out, but on an individual basis, it has increased? If yes, would that make economic inequality a global or national problem?

    – Can being economically disadvantaged be considered a social disease? Because of how much it affects your internal and external structure.

    I came up with this question because I remember watching a monologue where this old-woman asked, what do people die from more than anything? The doctor she spoke to said diabetes. The old-woman said the answer is poverty. Poverty because the poor can’t afford good hospitals, can’t afford to maintain good health, have fewer opportunities, more likely to be incarcerated, and develop depression. But also, the chances of social mobility are low even in industrialized countries. Poverty can be a cause of death because of the outcomes it has.

    The Trend in Between-Nation Income Inequality
    – Is there a growing gap between the richer and poorer countries?
    – When does population growth so does income?
    – Did the between nation within-inequality converge with the de-colonization?

    3. Based on the video, what are the main takeaways? Do you have any solutions you would add?

    Milanovic’s suggestion of policy is the removal of borders which, would reduce poverty and have significant gains in GDP 70 to 200%, reducing global inequality. The problem is social. Governments have to make sure citizens of the country do not feel outcasted. Giving migrants partial civil rights and employment rights. Milovanovic has a good idea, but we can extend it. If a migrant has been in said country for five years or more, then they can qualify for residency and from their citizenship. No person is illegal, I cannot emphasize it enough. I cringe when I see it on the television or my phone. The migrants are humans too and a part of our global community. We should be able to have easy migration and not making the experience more traumatic. Many of these migrants are running from gangs, war-torn countries, persecution, or economic failure. Migrants see western countries as opportunities for new lives and starting over once long ago especially in the US and Canada their ancestors did that too. It should be easy to provide these opportunities. Unfortunately, policies such as immigration reform are a matter of opinion.
    Jayadev discusses universal high-quality-education. People often do not realize the power of education. If we can give everyone access to the kind of training for skills needs to succeed will have much more stable countries, economically and socially. We would be reducing the gap. As someone who supports education equality, I believe we have to start small. Starting in our communities with reform ensuring every student has the tools to succeed: Needed technology, adhering to different learning types, smaller classrooms, qualified teachers, and curriculum reform. From there, we can tackle the bigger problems: funding, costs, and eventually going global.
    4. What is the most important thing you think you’ve learned throughout the semester?
    This question took me the longest to answer because I have learned too much. Forever I wanted to pursue a legal career in International law, and I can say this class has further pushed me to pursue this. There are so many inequalities in the world, and I want to be apart of the change. So thank you for making me understand the basic complexities of global inequality.
    Although it is more personal, the most important thing I have learned is how much of my life is out of my control. Over 80% of my life, I do not control. I come from a low-income family, so my chances of economically succeeding are already low. I am already lucky that I received a scholarship to attend university. I am not going to lie when I read the passage I felt deflated. One of the things I struggle with is the effort I put in. I feel like I have to give 110% all the time because if I do not, I won’t achieve the things I want in life. I would not be the successful person I dreamed of being. But I do not control that, all I can do is work hard and hope for the best.

  17. 1. The PowerPoint was informative because it went over past lectures which, made me have a better understanding of the concept. The graphs were a good visual to grasp how much inequality in different countries. It was interesting to see the graph on global inequality of interpersonal income. This last lecture was a good recap of our first term of what it means by inequality and how it’s different between as well as in between nations. China is talked about how it is an important country for measuring inequality and it was interesting to see how it plays a role when china is included and when it is not.

    2. I was intrigued by the reading this week because it touches on many of the consequences and theories of inequality. In the section of the first reading when health care was the topic, was a different take on how inequality is bad for the individual who is low income. Not only do people get to miss out on a better living but also a healthy life because low-income people’s insurance and health care plans are not the best according to what they pay towards for their health services. This section reminded me about how the U.S. has private insurance instead of universal health care to make health care less accessible and capitalize.

    3. The video’s main takeaway was policy solutions for inequality. Factor such as race and where you come from influences the chances of getting jumping from one class to the other. Both sociologists talk about open borders allowing migrants to occupy jobs in other countries but many people will not like this idea because of sharing citizenship rent. This particular solution would decrease the numbers in GDP. Universalism was brought up as a solution to change the standard of living for everyone with civil rights, education, and health care. They also talked about how all the money is concentrated in the one percent. The case for this is because there is a high return in profit for the rich.

    4. The most important thing I learned through the semester is about mobility. American has been giving the illusion of the American dream to this day. However, considering all the studies and the number of graphs of how much your income comes down to race, the location where you live, and your family economic class. I thought it was important because the U.S. does not a good history with people of color and equal opportunity. As a person of color information about how a white person can jump to another class within a generation and for me it would take 2 to 3 generations because institutions favored whites more than any other person with the same characteristics empowers me to not be so hard on myself if I’m not about to get the American dream.

  18. 1, On slide 15, you show the changes in inequality that have come about after China’s increased income. However, I am still a bit unsure about how that works exactly since distribution of income hasn’t improved much throughout the years. I understand that everyone is making more money than before, but prices and lifestyles have also increased, making expenses and income almost equivalent to what they were then (please correct me if I’m wrong). Unless there has been more philanthropy in China or a better income distribution, how is the decrease in inequality possible? And if so, shouldn’t we be able to see that across all nations?

    I also thought reiterating the difference between income and wealth was very necessary for me because I do tend to use them interchangeably, so thanks for the clarification!

    2. In the readings, I still seem to be having a little bit of trouble understanding the evaluation of inequality between countries. I understand it is necessary because an in-between country analysis of inequality shows the overall inequality of the world (which is greater than the inequality of each nation individually), but how is in-between country inequality greater than the most unequal country in the world? It was a concept I didn’t quite grasp.

    3. What I found most interesting from the video was the explanation of lack of desire to help the welfare system from the rich’s perspective. It is true that wealthier individuals pay for private services and don’t use the services given by taxes, so I see where that would come into play when taxing the rich more. I know philanthropy or giving your income to the people in need comes from morality and selflessness, but I’m thinking of ways that morality could be implemented in society without the need of religion (which seems inevitable since our society is drenched in religion).

    4. I’m actually really grateful I took this class. This class was one of the very few I learned from in this whole semester, and I find the work that we have learned in this course is so valuable to not just my understanding, but to my career as a whole (international studies with a concentration in public policy). One of the most valuable things I learned this semester was identifying the sources of inequality between countries during the industrial revolution and connecting it with the immigration patterns and social classes of those country’s citizens when immigrating to America. I always wondered why specific immigrants from Europe were more frowned upon than others, and it was so interesting to learn. I also found the topic of Kuznets cycles so valuable because I was able to see the rise/fall of inequality throughout the years, and I feel like I can now predict the causes of the next curve. Overall, I thought this class was great and extremely informative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.