Political Science | Inequality and American Democracy
Y490 | 26253 | Wright

During the last three decades, American citizens have grown
increasingly unequal in terms of income and wealth.  Economic
inequality is now greater than at any other point in American history
except for the Gilded Age, and it continues to escalate.  Far greater
economic inequality exists in the United States today than in other
western, industrialized nations.  This new inequality began to emerge
soon after the “rights revolution” had achieved the demise of formal,
legal discrimination, but economic divisions now reinforce many of the
old divisions of race, ethnicity, and gender, undermining the promise
of greater equality.  The central question posed by this course is the
implications of such vast economic inequality for American democracy.
Can representative governance survive, in any meaningful way, amid
such disparity between citizens?  We shall examine this question by
examining three major aspects of the American political system:
political voice, governance, and public policy.  Students will write
four papers on various aspects of economic and political inequality as
well as be responsible for active participation and leadership in
seminar discussions.