How the 1% Brainwashed the 99%

Most Americans not only misperceive currently levels of income inequality, says Joseph Stiglitz, they underestimate the tectonic changes that have occurred in the last ten years. 

 

What's the Latest Development? 


In Joseph Stiglitz's new book, "The Price of Inequality," the Nobel economist argues that new social science research has given power elites a greater understanding of how ideas affect society and that they have used that knowledge to cover up the gross wealth inequality now plaguing the country. "Fairness, like beauty, is at least partly in the eyes of the beholder, and those at the top want to be sure that the inequality in the United States today is framed in ways that make it seem fair, or at least acceptable. If it is perceived to be unfair, not only may that hurt productivity in the workplace but it might lead to legislation that would attempt to temper it."

What's the Big Idea?

While the national political conversation is focused squarely on economics, much of what passes for a debate of ideas is merely the recitation of propaganda, says Stiglitz. As a result, the public remains misinformed. "In a recent study, respondents on average thought that the top fifth of the population had just short of 60 percent of the wealth, when in truth that group holds approximately 85 percent of the wealth. ... Only 42 percent of Americans believe that inequality has increased in the past ten years, when in fact the increase has been tectonic. Misperceptions are evident, too, in views about social mobility. Several studies have confirmed that perceptions of social mobility are overly optimistic."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less