Foreign Affairs Interest Discussion Group

Contributed by Dorothy Yuan

On November 17, 2017 about 20 resident-members of this focus group met to discuss the topic:   “How Governments Should Deal with Inequality”.

The topic was suggested by the Group Chair, Carl Brown.  In preparation for the discussion the group was asked to read two articles from Foreign Affairs:  “What Kills Inequality” by Timur Kuran, and “How Should Governments Address Inequality?”, by Melissa S. Kearney.

 George Newman started the discussion with the provocative quotation from Orwell:  “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”, a viewpoint that sets the tone for the generally pessimistic view of the group regarding whether government can successfully address inequality.

The outstanding factor, of the many cited by the group, was actually addressed in the book  “What’s the Matter with Kansas” by Thomas Frank.  His book was published in 2006, but remains current in explaining why many  Americans consistently vote against government programs that would benefit them.  It seems that the desire to continue to support their particular affinity group cannot be overcome by events that are clearly against their moral conscience.

On the optimistic side the group suggested that for humanity as a whole, increased globalization may serve to reduce the divide as evidenced by the increase in the percentage of  the middle class in China and India.

A note of thanks was given to Lorrie Rogers for providing easier access to reading materials for these sessions.