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Welcome to the Tuesday Coffee Hour here on Street Prophets. This is an open thread where we can hang out and talk about what’s going on in our worlds. I thought we might talk about social and economic equality.

While there has been lots of stuff in the news recently about the growing inequality in the United States, I thought it might be interesting to start with ancient Rome. According to the Roman poet Juvenal:

“There is nothing in the calamity of poverty that is harder to bear than the fact that it makes people look ridiculous.”
The Roman playwright Plautus (254-184 BCE) wrote:
“no one benefits a beggar by giving him food or drink. You merely lose what you give him and prolong his life of misery.”
Leaving ancient Rome and arriving in the 21st Century United States, we would assume that by now any problems with inequality should have been solved. Unfortunately the data, in the form of the Gini Index, shows that economic inequality in the U.S. is at an all time high. The Gini Index (also known as the Gini Ratio or the Gini Coefficient) was developed by Italian sociologist Corrado Gini a century ago. It is a representation of the income distribution of a nation’s residents.

Between 1966 and 2011, the incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans grew by a whopping $59. On the other hand, the income of the top 10% only grew by $116,071.

While Republican millionaires who live in their exclusive neighborhoods, commute in the chauffer-driver limousines, and fly in their private jets, never see any social or economic inequality, the rest of us see it every day. While one out of five American children live in poverty and face food insecurity and hunger on a regular basis, the high-income elite feel that the government must cut aid to the poor, health-care to the poor, and subsidize their elite lifestyles.

Okay, I’ve had my say. How do you feel about social and economic inequality? Assuming that you are not facing food insecurity today, what’s for dinner?

This is an open thread: feel free to change the subject.

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 01:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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