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Unequal distribution of wealth in America

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Sociologist G. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz has published an article titled "Wealth, Income, and Power"
http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

The article discusses several important statistics on the distribution of wealth in the United States. Some of the key findings included in Professor Domhoff's piece are as follows:

ââ?¬¢
The top 1% of American households own 34.6% of all privately held wealth, up from 33.8% in 1983

ââ?¬¢
The bottom 80% of American household own only 15.0% of all privately held wealth, down from 18.0% in 1983

ââ?¬¢ Control of financial wealth is slightly more polarized -- the top 1% own 42% of all privately held wealth, while the bottom 80% own a mere 7.0%

After reading Domhoff's data and analysis answer the following questions:

Why do Americans in a democracy tolerate such massive inequality which has been growing steadily over the past 30 years?
What is the upside/downside to such concentrated wealth?
What is the relationship between wealth and power?

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Who Rules America?

Sociologist G. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz has published an article titled "Wealth, Income, and Power"

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

The article discusses several important statistics on the distribution of wealth in the United States. Some of the key findings included in Professor Domhoff's piece are as follows:

The top 1% of American households own 34.6% of all privately held wealth, up from 33.8% in 1983

The bottom 80% of American household own only 15.0% of all privately held wealth, down from 18.0% in 1983

Control of financial wealth is slightly more polarized -- the top 1% own 42% of all privately held wealth, while the bottom 80% own a mere 7.0%

Observation:

"Generally speaking, wealth is the value of everything a person or family owns, minus any debts. However, for purposes of studying the wealth distribution, economists define wealth in terms of marketable assets, such as real estate, stocks, and bonds, leaving aside consumer durables like cars and household items because they are not as readily converted into cash and are more valuable to their owners for use purposes than they are for resale (see Wolff, 2004, p. 4, for a full discussion of these issues). Once the value of all marketable assets is determined, then all debts, such as home mortgages and credit card debts, are subtracted, which yields a person's net worth." (Dumhoff, 2010)

This seems to be quite a deceptive way of determining wealth. People are not allowed to count the value of their home, car, land or other possessions but at the same time they have to count the amount ...

Solution Summary

Who rules America? This solution examines the unequal distribution of wealth in America. Why do we tolerate this inequality? Is there a positive aspect to the concentration of wealth and power in a small percentage of the population?

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See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Wealth/Power in United States, Class Theories, Policy Process

You are writing a letter to the editor to a prestigious national newspaper or magazine. Your purpose is to discuss a current issue in the United States as related to the distribution and concentration of wealth in the United States.

Write a paper, modeled after a letter to the editor, in which you address the following points:

o Select one current issue to use as an example of the distribution and concentration of wealth in the United States.
o Explain how we define power, wealth, class, and influence in the United States.
o Describe how class theories best explain the distributions and concentrations of power, wealth, class, and influence in the United States.
o Discuss why it is important to understand these differences, and how they influence the policy process.

Use at least three resources for this paper including your course materials. Refer to the tables and figures in Power and Society as well as the companion website to Who Rules America?

Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.

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