US Wealth Distribution 2009
Economic Inequality – GINI Coefficients
(CIA 2009)
Social Mobility/Income Inequality
Homicide and Income Inequality
Fishkin's Trilemma
Three ideals
–Equality of life chances
–Family autonomy
People in unequal family conditions
have unequal resources/abilities
Thus we can satisfy two, but not all
three, of these principles
Equality of life chances
The prospects of children for eventual
social positions should not
significantly vary because of arbitrary
native characteristics.
Alternative to equality of results, still
may require some “affirmative action”
to provide basic resources for children
of poor families.
Insistence on procedural fairness in
the evaluation of qualifications for
positions and access to benefits
Assumes possibility of measuring
qualifications in reasonably
equitable and uniform manner
Autonomy of the Family
Parents have autonomy in raising their
children, unless parents harm or
hamper them for adult participation
in society
State cannot insist that parents follow
best practices for children’s education
or socialization
Possible Resolutions of Trilemma
Reduce family autonomy – greater
social/state role in child rearing
Adopt affirmative action – reduce role
of merit in admissions, hiring,
Accept greater inequality disadvantaged children will be
penalized for their bad luck
Encourage family autonomy, but
supplement with universal
Implement affirmative action, but do
so in early development, e.g., head
start programs
Black Codes
Former slaves were “forbidden to appear in
the towns in any other character than
menial servants. They were required to
reside on and cultivate the soil without
the right to purchase or own it. There were
excluded from many occupations of gain,
and were not permitted to give testimony
in the courts in any case where a white
man was a party.”
Slaughterhouse Cases (1872)
Barriers to Voting for African-Americans
literacy requirements
poll taxes
discretionary registration rules
“grandfather” waivers
single race primary elections
Economic Barriers for African-Americans
lack of access to capital or land
limited skills and literacy
significant intimidation, including
vagrancy laws
licensing procedures excluding
Social Discrimination against
Laws Prohibiting Intermarriage
Use of Separate Facilities
Residential Segregation
School Segregation
Griggs v. Duke Power (1971)
Discrimination by Design
v. Disparate Impact
Duke had segregated plant until 1964
Civil Rights Act, African-Americans
only worked in labor dept
Following CRA, Duke requires HS
degree or passage of aptitude test
for any position, including truck
driving, outside Labor Dept.
Griggs v. Duke Power (1971)
Results of Segregated Education
% of NC male high school grads, 1966
Black Men: 12%
White Men: 34%
Applicants who passed aptitude test
Black Men: 6 %
White Men: 58%
Do African-Americans have an equal
chance as whites in being hired for a
job for which they are qualified?
1963 2011
41% 78%
African Americans 23% 39%
USA Today/Gallup Poll, 8/17/2011
Are new civil rights laws needed to
reduce discrimination against blacks?
Total (all races) 38% 21%
33% 15%
70% 52%
USA Today/Gallup Poll, 8/17/2011
Should the government have a ____ in
improving the social/economic position
of blacks and other minority groups?
Major Minor No
Role role
USA Today/Gallup Poll, 8/17/2011
46% 26%
50% 30%
32% 8%

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