Category Archives: Inequality

Op-Ed: “To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now”

Neil Irwin,To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now, The Upshot, September 3, 2017. [Divergent qualities of life highlight a shift toward bare bones employment strategies at top technology companies.]

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New Article: “Fines, Fees, and Forfeitures”

Beth A. Colgan, Fines, Fees, and Forfeitures, SSRN, August 15, 2107.  Abstract below:

The use of fines, fees, and forfeitures has expanded significantly in recent years as lawmakers have sought to fund criminal justice systems without raising taxes. Concerns are growing, however, that inadequately designed systems for the use of such economic sanctions have problematic policy outcomes, such as the distortion of criminal justice priorities, exacerbation of financial vulnerability of people living at or near poverty, increased crime, jail overcrowding, and even decreased revenue. In addition, the imposition and collections of fines, fees, and forfeitures in many jurisdictions are arguably unconstitutional, and therefore create the risk of often costly litigation. This chapter provides an overview of those policy and constitutional problems and provides several concrete solutions for reforming the use of fines, fees, and forfeitures.

 

News Coverage: “This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working.”

Colby Itkowitz, This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless. And it seems to be working, Washington Post, August, 11, 2016. [Public works day jobs provide hope for Albuquerque’s homeless.]

Op-Ed: “How U.S. News college rankings promote economic inequality on campus”

Benjamin Wermund, How U.S. News college rankings promote economic inequality on campus, Politco, September 10, 2017. [“Once ladders of social mobility, universities increasingly reinforce existing wealth, fueling a backlash that helped elect Donald Trump.”]

Op-Ed: “Poverty Matters: Five Key Takeaways from the 2016 Census Data”

John Bouman, Poverty Matters: Five Key Takeaways from the 2016 Census Data Poverty Matters: Five Key Takeaways from the 2016 Census Data, The Shriver Brief, September 13, 2017. [Slight improvements haven not translated into gains for those facing poverty.]

Op-Ed: “How the Ruling Class Remade New Orleans”

Thomas Adams, How the Ruling Class Remade New Orleans, Jacobin Magazine, August 2015. [“The language of social justice has been used to sell intensified neoliberalism in post-Katrina New Orleans.”]

Op-Ed: “Unemployment in Black and White”

The Editorial Board, Unemployment in Black and White, Washington Post, August 28, 2017. [“The hard truth is that the persistence of twice-as-high joblessness for black workers has led policy makers to accept it as normal.”]

Op-Ed: “In California, poor people go to jail, rich people go free. How long will this go on?”

Editorial Board, In California, poor people go to jail, rich people go free. How long will this go on?, The Sacramento Bee, August 28, 2017. [A look into California’s cash bail system and its disparate effect on California’s less fortunate.]

Article: “The Desert of the Unreal: Inequality in Virtual Augmented Reality”

Mary A. Franks, The Desert of the Unreal: Inequality in Virtual Augmented Reality, SSRN Aug. 8th, 2017. Abstract below:

 

The world we all live in is structured by inequality: of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, disability, and more. The promoters of virtual and augmented reality often claim that they offer a more perfect world, one that offers more stimulation, more connection, more freedom, more equality. For such technologies to be considered truly innovative, they should in some sense move us beyond our current limitations and prejudices. But when existing inequalities are unacknowledged and unaddressed in the “real” world, they tend to be replicated and augmented in virtual realities. We make new worlds based on who we are and what we do in old ones. All of our worlds, virtual and physical, are the product of human choice and human creation. The developers of virtual and augmented reality make choices about which aspects of our lived history they want to replicate, enhance, or change. The design – and design flaws – of new virtual and augmented reality technologies reveal much about the values of their developers and their consumers, providing a unique opportunity to evaluate just how innovative new technologies are with regard to social inequality.

 

Op-Ed: “The biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net: Working-class whites”

Tracy Jan, The biggest beneficiaries of the government safety net: Working-class whites, Washington Post, February 16, 2017. [Commentary on the true effect of the government assistance and tax credit programs of 2014.]