Socioeconomic inequality is a subject all three of us - Chris Miller, Joe Bolinger and me - are very passionate about, and we really enjoyed spending an evening sharing our thoughts on it. Chris Miller and Joe Bolinger are both public policy students at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington, and both are extremely well informed about American politics and policy. Hence this discussion with them turned out to be not just timely and relevant, but extremely informative as well.
Here are some of the questions we raise and address:
(1) The United States shows really high levels of economic inequality, but a surprisingly large number of people in the country are unaware of exactly how extreme this wealth skew is. Why? Are there parts of the country where such awareness is especially low?
(2) Does economic inequality in the United States translate into inequality of political voice?
(3) How are the poor in this country socially constructed? In other words, are the poor seen as 'deserving'? What are the perceptions surrounding poverty and the poor in the United States? On an anecdotal aside, how do these perceptions compare to those in developing countries such as India?
(4) Are the Occupy movements succeeding at bridging the social and ideological divides in this country?
(5) One strategy adopted by the Occupy movements is that they have not aligned themselves with any political party or put up an individual leader. How has this strategy affected their ability to bring inequality onto the political agenda? How has this strategy affected the public's perception of the movement?
I absolutely enjoyed recording this podcast, and I really hope everyone tuning in enjoys it too. Also, I'd love to hear your opinions, so please don't forget to write in some comments here !!