Equal Opportunity

What is worse than inequality of outcome (ex: income inequality)? Inequality of opportunity is worse. For free-ish market capitalism to raise all boats, all people need to be able to compete on an equal playing field, to the extent possible. In reality, this is far from equal since wealthy people have an advantage here. But I’m not interested in making rich people poorer, I’m interested in making poor people richer. The bottom 5-10% of the wage-earners/wealth holders have so few opportunities that 9 of their 10 best career options might be illegal or self-destructive. I see this as a systemic failure. The American Dream is that of a meritocracy, and while it will always be possible to “game the system”, the people at the bottom have no leverage find this to be just another dream and nothing more. In metro areas (which account for 50% of the population), the largest drivers of this inequality are historic racism (people were ushered into ghettos by race in the recent past), systemic racism (not a system full of racist people, but a system that affects one race more negatively than others), and lack of safety (people are forced to make friends with criminals to ensure their own protection). An amazing book on this topic is The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander In rural areas the problem is more tied to education and a drying-up of manual labor jobs (although these also affect metro areas).

Steve Kamerman

COO @scientiamobile