Economic Inequality from Cradle to Grave

By Michelle Chen May 24, 2010

What’s an acceptable level of social inequality? The loaded answer is obviously "none." But it seems that few people realize what the socioeconomic gaps across racial and gender lines aren’t just about paychecks of different sizes. The damage lasts far into the future and is compounded with each generation. As Kai Wright pointed out last week, a new research paper from the Brandeis University Institute on Assets and Social Policy shows that in terms of overall household wealth, the gap between blacks and whites more than quadrupled over the past generation. It’s unclear what impact the current economic collapse will have; blacks have suffered far worse than other groups in many respects, but the recession could perversely lead to greater "equality" by pushing down whites’ economic status.