Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Short Posts 6/30/15. On Growing Income Inequality in the US, Fifty Shades of Gray and the Way To Write About Violence Against Women

1.  This article about British convictions in violent crimes against women is interesting for all sorts of reasons, but what struck me most was the way the piece uses "people" for the offenders and "women and girls" for the victims.  For example:

There were increases in the number of successful prosecutions for sexual offences, child sex abuse, domestic violence cases and honour-based violence, while more people were charged with rape than ever before in the past year.

The bolds are mine.

2.  E.L. James, the writer of the Fifty Shades of Gray, held a Twitter Q&A session.  According to this BuzzFeed article it went horribly wrong.  From another angle it went pretty much as one would expect it to.

3.  Income inequality in the US continues to grow after the most recent recession:

The rich did far better, however. The top 10 percent of American earners, or those making more than $121,000 a year, got an even larger slice of the economic pie in 2014, capturing 49.9 percent of total income. That represents the highest share they’ve ever gained except for 2012. The top 1 percent of earners also got a boost, netting 21.2 percent of the country’s income, up from 20.1 percent in 2013. While most Americans saw income growth of 3.3 percent, incomes for the richest 1 percent grew by 10.8 percent.
When did the most recent trend in increasing income inequality begin?  The linked article suggest this happened in the 1980s and escalated during the 1990s.

A fun homework for you is to figure out what else might have changed around then, both internationally (such as the fall of the Berlin wall which reduced resistance to unbridled capitalism in international politics) and inside US politics (the push for globalism, the changes in laws which led to lowered taxes for the top 1%, the "liberation of financial markets").   This Wikipedia article (which may not be completely unbiased) suggests some additional ideas.

What I had in mind for that homework is not the details of what has happened but the wider trends:  the death of unionization (unions benefit lower income workers more, including women earning lower incomes), the "capture" of the legislative branch by the richest among us, partly because of no proper campaign financing laws, and then the fact that as income inequality increases greater differences are created among the goals and concerns of those who have lots of money and those who have less.  If the wealthier have more say in politics, through that one-dollar-one-vote, there will be further laws which tilt the playing fields towards greater inequality.