*Taught Online for Summer 2021* Since the 1970s, economic inequality has been on the rise. Today, the world’s richest 1% own 44% of the world’s total stock of wealth. The problem is especially acute in the US, where three individuals alone now own more than the bottom half of the country combined. This course draws on the work of economists, political scientists, historians, journalists, and activists to examine the origins and character of what some American observers have dubbed “the Second Gilded Age.” Part I explains why we should be concerned about inequality (and not just poverty), how certain attitudes, ideologies, and behaviors have helped to sustain it, and how it intersects with race and gender. Part II contends that inequality is neither natural nor inevitable but rather a function of the distribution of power among stakeholders in society. It argues that politics is key to understanding why the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen and concludes by considering some of the most promising proposals to have been advanced in recent years aimed at redressing the balance of the power and wealth between the few and the many.
Daily Course Expectations
- 6 hours of daily work
- Mix of synchronous and asynchronous work (see definitions here)
- 1 required synchronous session per day: 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. CST
We will be devoting two class sessions to examining some of the vulnerabilities that the COVID-19 crisis has exposed in the American economic system. Geared for students who aim to take a deep dive into economics trends as it relates to history and politics. Students interested in the mathematical side of economics may want to check out Pathways in Economics or Economics from an Experimental Perspective. Students who want to explore world politics more broadly should consider Pathways in World Politics.
Current Grade / Education Level