A project of the Center for Community Change

Economic Injustice Needs More Attention

The Brookings Institution pointed out that high-income kids who don’t graduate from college are 2.5 times more likely to end up rich than low-income kids who do get a degree. Economic disparity is becoming more widespread because inequality breeds more injustice, and achieving economic justice appears to be stuck in a vicious cycle that moves from one generation to the next.

According to the study, children from rich families have access to better resources and therefore have a better chance of getting a higher education. They are also more likely to end up marrying people who have similar economic backgrounds and their children will be raised in rich families. Rich parents who don’t have to hold multiple jobs to support themselves have more time to educate their children, and more money to send their kids to better schools, only perpetuating this vicious cycle.

Economic injustice is not just an issue in the United States. In China, the slang word “ping die (拼爹)” is the idea that people are not only judged by their own skills and merit, but by the wealth and political power of their fathers because a person’s family has so much influence on their own future.

I happen to know two friends, both of whom study at the same university. One comes from a wealthy background and the other does not.  Even though they both attend the same university, I believe that life will be much easier for my rich friend. His future is “bright”: he will work for his father’s company, marry a rich girl and later he’ll take over as head of the company. Though my other friend attends the same university and works just as hard if not harder, he may have to work harder for the things he accomplishes, and may find himself on a more difficult path in life.

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The apples stand for: INCOME

More economic injustice leads to less mobility and can discourage people, especially young people who are in the process of pursuing their dreams. The American dream should be based on the attainability to change one’s social economic status through hard work and effort, not the income level of the family they were born into.

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