Thursday, September 23, 2010

Americans Prefer Sweden

Building a Better America- One Wealth Quintile at a Time

The results of recent study, conducted by Dan Ariely of Duke University and Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School, show that Americans would prefer to live in a country where there is more equality in the wealth distribution. Interestingly enough, these same participants under estimated the level of wealth inequality that presently exists in the United States.
Currently, it is estimated that the top 1% of Americans hold 50% of the countries wealth. In the study, participants said that they felt that the top 20% of the population controls 59% of the wealth, while in actuality, that number is more like 84%.

While equal distribution across the board was not preferred by the wealthiest or the poorest, it is still very crucial to point out that Americans are not too aware of the severe wealth distributions that exist in this country. Nevertheless, regardless of political inclinations, wealth, or gender, overall, participants desired a more equal wealth distribution. The example of the wealth distribution that was more commonly preferred in the survey reflected the wealth distribution of Sweden.

The voices of the American people must be taken into consideration by those in power. In theory, this government was designed to be “of the people, by the people, for the people,” then it is crucial that such results be incorporated into the way people are taxed, funding is distributed, and the overall “management” of this country.

It is difficult to understand and more so, accept how the inequality in wealth distribution in this country is as bad as it was in the 1920s right before the Great Depression. It is difficult not to focus on why things are the way they are, but with that said, it is also very important to empower individuals to access and use their agency. People must become aware and knowledgeable of such issues in order to expect any change.


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