The following discussion aims at addressing economic and political inequality and discusses the role of social movements in improving the lives of the poor in society.
Some of the important economic challenges facing the United States and other developed economies are the increase in economic inequality. Over the last two decades, no other industrialized country in the world has a bigger gap between wage growth and productivity growth than the U.S. The U.S economic inequality is at historically high levels because there is a great disparity in the way wages and income are distributed. Americans today live in an unequal society characterized by higher gaps in wages, income and wealth. Most poor and middle class households are left out in matters of economic growth and they watch as the GDP, stock markets, productivity and corporate profits rise everyday while their incomes stagnate or grow at a very slow rate (Kenworthy and Smeeding 31).
The stock market has risen to 60 percent; the GDP is up by 8 percent nationally while the median house hold income has fallen by 5 percent. From the year 1979 to 2007, the richest 1 percent of the population experienced tripling of incomes while those of the middle households rose only to about 25 percent. Currently, the richest 1 percent claims ownership to over 60 percent of the total wealth while 5 percent of the richest people claim over 60 percent of the total wealth in the United States. The gender and racial gap in wages, incomes and wealth has also widened throughout the period. While racial segregation has reduced in the last ten years, economic segregation has been on the rise.
The great recession through 2010/2011 had its negative effects on the U.S. economy. Indeed it has permanently and negatively changed the level of well being as well as the distribution of resources in the whole country. With the nation’s economic growth abruptly halted during the 2008 recession, many workers turned