Lawrence Summers: What Kind of Inequality is OK? || American Conversation Essentials

Lawrence Summers: What Kind of Inequality is OK? || American Conversation Essentials


I think one needs to resist crude attacks that say that anything that makes someone wealthy is problematic. On the other hand the degree of inequality
of opportunity that we’re starting to see in the United
states really troubles me. For two hundred years a story of America
was a story of more equality of opportunity But the data are telling us now that we are a country with more inequality than most others. Inequality has risen very sharply. In some ways that’s because we are
fortunate to have remarkable creators here. If America had fifty more versions
of Steve Jobs it would be a place with more inequality
but at least to my eyes, it would be a better place. A richer place; a more interesting
place as well. I think we can accept; I think we should accept inequality of results recognizing that those who earn more are in a position to contribute more
to support the society. But if you look at the last generation The gap in the life prospects of the
child of a rich father and the child of a poor father has widened. These questions of equality of
opportunity are very fundamental for us over the
next generation. Now, our economy is doing better. The general trend of the numbers is up
but we’re still well short of normal levels of employment and we need more demand for them to put
people back to work so we need more spending on
infrastructure. We are shortchanging both the present and the future by starving
state and local governments to the point where schools in some places only open
four days a week we’ve got investments that going unmade. this is gonna be a century of biology
like the twentieth century was a century of physics and we’re not even keeping the
NIH budget where the number of grants to young scientists can remain constant
let alone increase what I worry about is this could be too
long a slog, but in Washington the transition from inconceivable to
inevitable can on occasion be rapid. I think what we get past this election you’re gonna see a recognition that on the part
of people in Washington that there’s no election soon to posture for That everybody’s going to be fed up with
everybody in Washington and nothing happens. I think there’s a good chance you’re
gonna see more cooperation both on the crucial issue of getting
the economy going and all the longer term issue of
deficit-reduction. I obviously have a preference as to who wins the uh… election but actually I think whoever wins you’re likely see considerable pressure
to bring people together.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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