Economic Inequality - Taking Sides Article


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Taking Sides Summary-Analysis Form
Title and Author of Article: Christopher Jencks

Briefly state the main idea of this article: The main idea of this article is that economic inequality has steadily risen in the United States between the richest people and the poorest people. And this inequality affects the people in more ways than buying power; it also affects education, life expectancy, living conditions and possibly happiness. Another idea that he brought up was that the American government tends to give less help to the unemployed than other rich countries.

List 2-4 supporting points or arguments the author uses to bolster the main ideas: A good supporting point that Jencks used to show that the American government tends to give less help to poor than other countries, is a study done using the 90/10 ratio. In the study it showed that within the English-speaking world the United States was the most unequal of all. Another supporting point that helps his argument is when he talks about the United States doing little to limit wage inequality.

List three facts the author uses to support the main idea: Jencks included a lot of studies and charts into his article that helped his argument. One of the studies that he included is on the percent of household income going to the richest one percent. In this study it showed that in 1979 7.5% of household income went to the top one percent, and in 1997 it jumped to 13.6 %. Another fact from the article is a study conducted by Lars Osberg from Dalhousie University. It found that the poor in America worked more hours than their poor counterpart in Canada, Britain, Sweden, France, and Germany. The third fact that I think is relatively important is that since 1979 the tuition at America's public colleges has risen faster than most parent's income. Thus giving the poor even less of a chance to receive a higher education.

What is a good counterargument to the thesis of this article?
I think a good counterargument would be that inequality these days is different, not very many people these days live with out completely no material nesacities. The ones that do are due to their own downfalls, whether they are mentally ill or have a drug problem or any other number of illness's. The United States provides less help to the poor, but it's not no help.

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It still provides the poor with public housing social security and welfare. There still is economic inequality but not nearly to the extent as it was back in the day. People aren't starving to death and are not dying from diseases that normally affected the very poor many years ago.

What point could you add to its argument (in support of the main idea)?
A point that I would add would be that economic inequality reflects the way our government works and who gets voted in. People with more money ultimately have more sway in who gets elected. They can donate millions of dollars towards the campaign of some one who they want to represent their views, and helping their situation. The poor simply can't do that so they have to leave it all up to their vote, and it's also known that the poorest people in this county have a lot lower voting average. Since they vote less that means their views are less represented in the government.

Assess the strength of this article. If you find it persuasive, state why. Identify any problems with it including any evidence of propaganda, bias, or faulty reasoning you found in it.
I found this article to be extremely persuasive. Most of his points had either some kind of chart to go along with them or some information from a study conducted. Another reason it persuaded me is that all of it was believable none of it sounded made up or really stretching it, that could be because it was loaded with facts. The only real problem that I found with it was that it didn't really show anything on the not so rich countries of the world. The poorest people in the richest democracies of the world are far better off than the poorest people of other countries in Africa and parts of Asia. He didn't really mention anything on world economic inequality.


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