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Scott, a 24 year old dean's list college grad, is smart but unemployed. According to the New York Times , in five months, only one job has given him an offer: $40k as an insurance claims adjuster. Scott said no, because Rather than waste early years in dead-end work, he reasoned, he would hold out for a corporate position that would draw on his college training and put him, as he sees it, on the bottom rungs of a career ladder. Now, the easy way to go here would be to call Scott an idiot for giving up a $40k/yr job in the midst of a recession.
No one grasped this better than Norman Rockwell, who, stirred to action by Roosevelt’s speech, set to work on his famous “Four Freedoms” paintings: the one with the rough-hewn workman speaking his piece at a town meeting ( Freedom of Speech ); the one with the old lady praying in the pew ( Freedom of Worship ); the one with the Thanksgiving dinner ( Freedom from Want ); and the one with the young parents looking in on their sleeping children ( Freedom from Fear ). These paintings, first reproduced in The Saturday Evening Post in 1943, proved enormously popular, so much so that the original works were commandeered for a national tour that raised $133 million in U.S. war bonds, while the Office of War Information printed up four million poster copies for distribution. Whatever your opinion of Rockwell (and I’m a fan), the resonance of the “Four Freedoms” paintings with wartime Americans offers tremendous insight into how U.S. citizens viewed their idealized selves.
Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the middle class, poverty, and inequality. Many economists and pundits argue that the middle class has made little or no economic progress over the last 30 years, that poverty rates are stagnant or rising, and that inequality has increased dramatically. Meyer, drawing on his research over the last ten years, argues that these conclusions are either false or misleading. He argues that standard measures of economic progress and inequality are based on faulty inflation data or a misplaced focus on pre-tax income instead of post-tax income or consumption.
Editor's Note: Be sure to catch GPS every Sunday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST. If you miss it, you can buy episodes on iTunes . By Fareed Zakaria , CNN President Obama spoke forcefully in his State of the Union about the importance of reviving manufacturing in America.
I get it – people are angry. Very, very angry. I’m angry too. And Wall Street sure makes a great scapegoat, hence the Occupy Wall Street protest. Wall Street is a symbol of the “greed and corruption” that took over America and caused this whole mess.
In the first such analysis ever conducted, Swiss economic researchers have conducted a global network analysis of the most powerful transnational corporations (TNCs). Their results have revealed a core of 737 firms with control of 80% of this network, and a “super entity” comprised of 147 corporations that have a controlling interest in 40% of the network’s TNCs. Strongly Connected Component (SCC); layout of the SCC (1318 nodes and 12,191 links). Node size scales logarithmically with operation revenue, node color with network control (from yellow to red). Link color scales with weight. [Note to the reader: see the very end of this article for a ranking of the top 50 'control holders']
‘Vague protests are vague,’ commented a friend about the Occupy Melbourne protests when I asked her what she thought about them, over a glass of expensive wine at the Courthouse in North Melbourne. But I like the Occupy protests’ ambiguity – it seems to leave space for nuanced stories and creative solutions. If the organisers had a 20-point manifesto, they may not have been able to gather a critical mass, because people would have been too busy arguing over the detail. So the idea is to start a public conversation, build a constituency, and then involve as many people as possible in the solution. Perhaps this is naive and unrealistic.
In the picture, you’re holding up a sheet of paper that says: I am a former Marine. I work two jobs. I don’t have health insurance. I worked 60-70 hours a week for 8 years to pay my way through college.
The "Occupy Wall Street" protests are gaining momentum, having spread from a small park in New York to marches to other cities across the country. So far, the protests seem fueled by a collective sense that things in our economy are not fair or right. But the protesters have not done a good job of focusing their complaints—and thus have been skewered as malcontents who don't know what they stand for or want.
One of the most robust findings in political psychology is that liberals tend to explain both poverty and wealth in terms of luck and the influence of social forces while conservatives tend to explain poverty and wealth in terms of effort and individual initiative. Here's a useful summary of the sort of thing I have in mind: Harmon (2010a) built on these works by testing their conclusions against six U.S. public opinion polls.
Review Essay Increasing inequality in the United States has long been attributed to unstoppable market forces. In fact, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson show, it is the direct result of congressional policies that have consciously -- and sometimes inadvertently -- skewed the playing field toward the rich. Video A conversation with George Packer, Robert C.