Tag Archives: working class

The Gentrification of City-Based Sitcoms


You might remember this TV show about how a group of homies got along with each other and with urban life in New York City. The characters were all in their 20s and 30s, and some of the guys in this group shared an apartment together. Some of the ladies in the group shared an apartment, too, in the same building as the guys. There was occasional romantic tension between some of the male and female buddies, and some of them even morphed into real romantic couples. There seemed to be no real point to this show other than […]

Leveraging new data can help low-income students climb the economic ladder, writes Michael Lawrence Collins.


iStock/erhui1979

The story we tell ourselves about upward income mobility is unraveling. The majority of respondents to a New America survey felt that it is harder than ever to attain a foundational element of the American dream, in which children earn more than their parents. But most respondents still believe another tenet of the American mobility narrative: that going to college creates upward mobility.

While it is true that college graduates do better in our economy than nongrads, earnings from different college degrees vary considerably. For low-income students in particular, not all college degrees are equally valuable. These and other recent […]

Why Won’t TV Show People Who Aren’t Rich?

Part of the cast of ABC

This year marks the final season of what might be the most underappreciated sitcom on TV, ABC’s “The Middle.” It’s a single-camera show about an Indiana family—the title refers to its character’s Middle-American, middle-class existence—and unlike the edgy comedies and tear-jerker dramas that dominate awards time, its humor is unapologetically middlebrow. But “The Middle” is charming, appealing and funny, in no small part because it has another distinction: It’s one of a precious few shows on TV today that focuses, consistently and honestly, on economic anxiety.

If there were ever a time to double down on stories of the American […]

Free Money: The Surprising Effects of a Basic Income Supplied by Government


The town of Cherokee sits in the Qualla Boundary, a large tract in North Carolina that is home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee and the Cherokee Central School. Skooter McCoy was 20 years old when his wife, Michelle, gave birth to their first child, a son named Spencer. It was 1996, and McCoy was living in the tiny town of Cherokee, North Carolina, attending Western Carolina University on a football scholarship. He was the first member of his family to go to college.

McCoy’s father had ruined his body as a miner, digging tunnels underneath lakes and riverbeds, and […]

The diversity in Edward Enninful’s new British Vogue isn’t just about skin color


The first issue of British Vogue under editor in chief Edward Enninful, starring model Adwoa Aboah. The December 2017 issue of British Vogue —the first full issue under new editor in chief, Edward Enninful, hit newsstands today, and it has been heralded worldwide for its diversity of representation, from contributing editors such as supermodel Naomi Campbell to contributors including author Zadie Smith and pop star Zayn Malk.

But there is another, less obvious social issue that Enninful, who spent six years as style director of W and spearheaded the sold-out Black Issue of Italian Vogue, is addressing: social mobility, which […]

A country divided by a great gulf


The voters who swung the election remain out of Democrats’ reach, says Harriet Baber

Polar opposites: Trump supporters and opponents argue at Sterling Heights, Michigan, earlier this year WHEN the smoke cleared after the United States presidential election, it was easy to see exactly what had happened: Democrats voted for Democrats, Republicans voted for Republicans, and the white working-class tipped the balance to Trump ( News, 11 November 2016 ).

The question was why. Why did the white working-class vote for Republicans, the party of plutocrats, against their own economic interests?The received view is that they were duped by […]

Without reforms, America’s employment prospects are bleak

Without reforms, America

© Getty Images The American workforce is expected to face multiple headwinds over the next decade, including an aging population, greater automation and continued stratification by skill levels and educational attainment. These challenges — made clear in the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently issued employment projections for America in 2026 — highlight the need to promote greater economic mobility through policies that range from labor law to land-use regulations.

There long have been warnings about American workers’ diverging economic prospects, with middle-skill occupations hollowed-out from the twin disruptions of technological innovation and globalized markets. The BLS report reminds us […]

How bad teeth are at the root of income inequality in Canada

Dental program students work with manikins in the lab at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Alberta, October 11, 2017. (Photograph by Jason Franson)

Dental program students work in the lab at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Alberta, October 11, 2017. (Photograph by Jason Franson) When Bernie Sanders took his well-publicized cook’s tour of Canada’s much-vaunted universal public health care system recently, he wouldn’t have seen a cavity being filled or a root canal performed or a missing front tooth replaced. That’s because most oral health care is exempt from provincial and territorial health-care plans (some dental services are covered by government dental programs, but working-class people lacking employer coverage are on their own).

It’s a glaring omission that’s both illogical and a […]

Inequality and Violence

Austrian historian Walter Scheidel has a new book, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century . The thesis, according to the reviewers anyway, is that the only thing that can really dent rampant and long-lasting economic inequality is violence. Reduction in inequality has been, writes Scheidel, “only ever brought forth in sorrow”

I have written about this question before, in the context of Thomas Piketty’s study of economic history. It does seem to be true that in times of peace and prosperity the rich gradually get control of a larger […]

Leading Scholars Hold Conference on Race and Inequality in America

Gillian White of the Atlantic responds following a talk by Richard Reeves. Duke Professor Nancy MacLean also participated. Photo by Les Todd

Leading scholars gathered this past Thursday at Duke to discuss ways in which racial rules affect people’s daily lives and what we can do to change them to create a more inclusive economy and society.

The conference on race and inequality in America, hosted by the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and the Roosevelt Institute, explored the underpinnings of health and wealth disparities in the context of race, looking at issues that go beyond the current national emphasis on the trials of the white working class.

Speakers included Richard Reeves, senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution […]