What to Do About the Growing Class Divide

A new book, Coming Apart by Charles Murphy, cites statistics that suggest the class divide in America is growing. But why? And what to do about it? Gary Becker and Richard Posner weigh in. 

What's the Latest Development?


Coming Apart, a new book by Charles Murphy, cites statistics which suggest that opportunity, i.e. economic mobility, is increasingly a poorly distributed good in society. In other words, children of successful parents are more likely to succeed, relative to their peers, than at any time during the first half of the 20th century. Murphy writes that we can help solve this problem by eliminating unpaid internships, eliminating the SAT exam as a college entrance requirement and by preventing companies from listing a college degree as necessary to apply for a job. 

What's the Big Idea?

Gary Becker and Richard Posner, a Nobel laureate and federal judge, respectively, do not believe Murphy's solutions address the cause of the current class divide. Becker cites statistics about the erosion of working class families during the second half of the 20th century, mostly caused by rising divorce rates. Posner says that as the American economy has become knowledge-based, moving away from being manufacturing-based, blue collar men have had to compete harder for jobs that pay less. He recommends a more redistributive tax policy.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less