How Income Inequality Helps Explain Contemporary Urban America

Source: Willy Staley, Next American City, September 15, 2010

Timothy Noah, at Slate, has been writing an excellent, in-depth series of articles on the ever-rising income inequality here in the United States. Among his more disturbing finds are that income inequality is higher now than it was preceding the 1929 crash. Income inequality is not good for an economy, we know that, but it is also potentially damaging to democracy. This three decades-long trend of economic stratification, which has been dubbed The Great Divergence by Paul Krugman, has economists, political scientists, and Timothy Noah understandably concerned. Timothy Noah looks at the problem through many different lenses, trying to isolate the most important factors (I was upset to find out that I can’t just blame Ronald Reagan; conservatives might be upset to learn that ), and makes the picture quite complicated. What is interesting about the series of articles, at least to us here at Urban Nation, is the correlation between income inequality and trends in urbanization, which seems well-worth examining.

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