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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Dec 20, 2014, 04:05 PM

27. American exceptionalism and racism: "Americans vastly underestimate inequality in their own society"

Americans are more likely than Europeans to believe that they live in a middle-class society, even though income is really much less equally distributed here than in Europe.



As the paper says, other evidence also says that Americans vastly underestimate inequality in their own society – and when asked to choose an ideal wealth distribution, say that they like Sweden.

Why the difference? American exceptionalism when it comes to income distribution – our unique suspicion of and hostility to social insurance and anti-poverty programs – is, I and many others would argue, very much tied to our racial history. This does not, however, explain in any direct way why we should misperceive real inequality: people could oppose aid to Those People while understanding how rich the rich are. There may, however, be an indirect effect, because the racial divide empowers right-wing groups of all kinds, which in turn issue a lot of propaganda dismissing and minimizing inequality.

Interesting stuff.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/inequality-delusions/

Americans "when asked to choose an ideal wealth distribution, say that they like Sweden". Yet most Americans still believe that we live in a middle-class society while we "vastly underestimate inequality in their own society".

It is going to be hard to make the changes needed to create a real middle class society when too many think we already have one and do not understand how unequal income really is distributed here.

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marmar Dec 2014 OP
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