Literature Review Analysis Response Paper
by Tashi Martin
April 1, 2013
In the article Inequality: Causes and Consequences, Kathryn M. Neckerman and Florencia Torche discuss the existing patterns, causes and consequences of economic inequality in the United States, including inequality of earnings, wealth, and opportunity. Their research refers to the social and political causes and consequences of inequality in such areas as “health, education, crime, social capital, and political power” (Neckerman & Torche, 2007, p. 335). In addition, they discuss world inequality, exploring the major inequality trends across different nations. The researchers of this article have the major goal – to help readers to better understand the roots of this social problem and its effects on people, organizations and labor markets.
In fact, economic inequality in the United States constitutes a social problem which required the appropriate solutions. According to George Ritzer (2004), “problems associated with economic inequality are closely linked to the level of development, with inequality being a far greater problem in developed nations than in less developed countries” (p. 10). Undoubtedly, such social problem as economic inequality can be found both in developed and developing countries. In the United Sates, this issue is of great importance as the American nation is based on the principle: all people are created equal and should be treated equally. Most Americans believe that they are a part of the middle class that command a large part of American society. However, today there is an evidence of certain economic differences between the rich and the poor, although the United States provides equal opportunities for personal development. According to Neckerman and Torche (2007), in the United States, the obvious economic disparities started to rise in the1970s, while the increased economic disparities can be easily identified today. One of the sociological researches, the long-term Luxembourg Income Study of 2000, proves the fact that economic inequality is much higher in the United States than in other industrialized countries. And “only two industrialized countries, Mexico and Russia have more income inequality than the United States” (Brinkerhoff et al., 2007, p. 147). It has been found that the lower class10% of American population has become extremely poor, while the upper class 10% has become extremely wealthier. The increased income inequality is closely connected with the changes in the economic system of the United States. The research shows that 80% of Americans work in service and retail occupations which pay lowers wages in comparison with the manufacturing jobs that “once dominated the US economy” (Brinkerhoff et al., 2007, p. 147). In addition, practically all economic divisions try to replace well-paid permanent workers with lower-paid part-time workers. Thus, the above mentioned changes combined with declining level of union membership and “a stationary minimum wage” has contributed to the lower incomes of poor and working class Americans.
The primary patterns and causes of inequality in the United States based on the article Inequality: Causes and Consequences are focused on the three areas of inequality: inequality in wealth, inequality of opportunity and wage inequality. The authors of the article pay special attention to the recent trends and are based on the major factors that are driving distributional outcomes in the United States.
To start with, one of the major causes of inequality in the United States is wage inequality which remains stable despite economic crisis. High skilled employees get higher wages than unskilled workers. In addition, inequality matters in contemporary society help to better understand the differences in economic well-being of...