U.S. History Since 1865: Wealth Inequality: Present and Past


you are watching DHTV from California
State University Dominguez Hills okay hello students in this particular
segment we’re going to address wealth inequality and we’re going to appreciate
its historical underpinnings and we’re gonna address one of the most important
learning objectives that deals with analyzing the varied impacts of
historical issues on diverse groups within in between societies so at first
we’re going to take a look at the crisis of wealth distribution in the United
States we’ll take a look at its impact its causes its impacts and its responses
so what we want to do is we want to take a look at the contemporary crisis of
wealth distribution if we go into the next slide then we could take a look at
how Americans are going to deal with a similar crisis but with but under
different circumstances at the turn of the 20th century let’s appreciate how
Americans responded to wealth inequality in an era identified as a Gilded Age we
can analyze the significance of the current solutions to the crisis by
appreciating the success that the movements for change had and getting the
government to address wealth inequality in the past so we have already covered
some of the issues but what I want to do is I want to try to rehearse so that we
can recognize that we live in cycles alright not a linear experience let’s
realize that the United States has been through this situation before where
wealth inequality has created tremendous problems now there’s a great deal of
discussion today regarding the concentration of wealth including its
possible causes and impacts you know one of the things that you should that we
are going to rehearse especially is Occupy Wall Street movement and try to
appreciate the impressions of the movement and why they seem to be
everywhere when the bank crisis occurred in 2008 now the perhaps
the most important single most important fact shifting America’s public attitude
towards wealth inequality was the bailout of banks in 2008 and 2009 so
let’s go to the next slide and let’s appreciate the contemporary wealth
inequality what Occupy Wall Street helped America focus on were the causes
of the crisis they deliberately threw mob rule protested outside the
perpetrators house they demonstrated on the doorstep of the one-percent fixing
the rules of the game in their favor – the movement the rule riggers were the
source of the problem the impact of the economic crisis that historians label
the Great Recession gave rise to the 99 percent the 99 percent became a movement
and this movement was their concerns were joblessness economic insecurity
middle class debt a bloated CEO payments or pay salaries mushrooming student
loans grinding poverty and the collapse of the middle class indeed
the euphemism on the streets for class mobility which was once an important
dimension of the American Dream became get yourself born to wealthy parents so
what’s literature has been generated studying both the causes and
consequences of wealth inequality many point to the ideological shift begun in
the 1970s formulated in the Reagan administration so let’s go and to the
causes there you go the causes consequences the strategies for change many point to again the ideological
shift begun in the 70s and reformulated in the Reagan administration has
trickled down economics as neoliberalism as austerity some economists point to
the emergence of credit expansion the failure to regulate and the
political influence of campaign contributions by the wealthy others
point to corporate tax loopholes tax cuts for the wealthy and the attack on
organized labor the centerpiece of george w bush’s domestic agenda when he
took office in 2001 was a massive tax cut his administration oversaw the
dismantling of environmental restrictions on the oil timber and
mining industries the deregulation of financial institutions allowed them to
engage in risky practices that contributed to the economic crisis that
began in 2007 whatever the cause of the causes the
consequences proved and they continue to be devastating and increase in poverty
especially amongst workers people of color immigrants and women and children
and in response to this dilemma immigrants began demonstrating for
dignity and respect and they resurrected May Day in the United States workers
began organizing into unions and they argued for a living wage calling it the
fight for 15 and people of color were tired of police harassment and the lack
of immigration reform so we had immigration rallies had immigration
reform rallies as well as black lives matter
so what assist us in appreciating the current crisis is that a similar one
occurred when we started this class during the Gilded Age in the late 19th
century during what Mark Twain referred to as the great barbecue remember back
then inequality fueled social conflict just as much as inequality as feeling
social conflict today Stark inequality led to chronic conflict that hobbled
economic growth just like today only it was a different time in the
scientific development of the productive forces while today we live in the
information revolution back then it was the Second Industrial Revolution between
1860 and 1890 the availability of capital for
investment the growing supply of labor abundant natural resources and federal
land grants to railroads contributed to the explosive growth at the economy it’s
a little bit different today especially given the environment and the results of
the deregulation of the banking industry now at the same time back then amidst
this explosive growth one significant impact of the Industrial Revolution was
the frequent and prolonged economic depressions this meant that workers had
to endure freaking periods of mass unemployment not to mention dangerous
work conditions while farmers increasingly lost their livelihood so a
similar process that’s occurring since 2008 meanwhile the same economy that
gave Carnegie Rockefeller and Morgan the opportunity to amass large the largest
fortune of fortunes in the history of the world also required that unskilled
industrial workers work an average of 60 hours per week for less than 10 cents an
hour jump to today and we can see that the economy we’ve got Bezos at
amazon.com we have the gates and there’s of course the Walton family from
Walmart’s they have masked the largest for fortunes in the history of the world
so the people’s lives were transformed in a hundred 120 years ago just as much
as they’re being transformed today we’re growing urban urban slums living
conditions became deplorable diseases rampant so the Gilded Age came to
identify or capture the juxtaposition of enormous wealth alongside crushing
poverty we in this class visited Jacob Reese’s documented struggle and how the
other half lives people endured the panic of 1893 the depression of 1894
that cemented the these social movements for change we have many different social
movements for change occurring today the crisis in the 1890s was the first
time people started understanding that capitalism was creating a deep chasm
between the rich and the poor and that something had to be done it seems that
the people are waking up today back then farmers and workers aligned together to
create the populist revolt what kind of revolt are we going to are
we seeing today the Socialist Party was organized in demanding unionization of
respect for workers anarchists found voice in the starving masses so
historians see in the the Gilded Age the period is open class warfare historians
are now viewing that today we are in open class warfare the ultra-rich have
gained control of the federal government so back then the movements for change
insisted that lies a fair economics was not the solution to industrial problems
and that the federal government had a responsibility for the nation’s social
well-being this protest against monopoly and privilege was ultimately expressed
in the assassination of the president at the turn of the century so perhaps we
can recognize that today’s movements for change against privilege and wealth
follows the path that has already been treaded the 20th century starts out with
a new social movement which bases its principles on scientific observation of
socio-economic problems the progressive movement came about as a result of the
populist crusade as a result of the capital labor conflicts in socialist
organizing and as a desire by those who benefited from the system to humanize it
so back then progressives came into being to control monopolies to end the
violence associated when the workers attempted to organize into unions or
when farmers fought the bank foreclosures a key source to igniting
the social movement is ideas because ideas can turn of overturn traditional
values ideas can overturn traditional behaviors ideas and perceptions of
reality aid and generate
awareness which often leads to change the most pressing questions are moral
and political and the ideas that were generated by socialists led to
progressives using the government efficiently and scientifically to end
corruption and to control big business throw out the crooks return power to
good citizens get rid of monopolies and bring back fair enterprise so the
progressive intellectuals gave us that we have much to learn from their
experience today and that is why it is important that we take history classes
to help us appreciate the past you

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