OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

1996| The Rich and the Poor: Inequality in America

1996| The Rich and the Poor: Inequality in America

In 1996, we attempted to give some sense of the growing division between rich and poor in America and to assess the consequences for our democratic institutions.

Events included:

The Widening Gap Between the Rich and the Poor.  An Interdisciplinary Panel:
Manuel Pacheco, Dylan Sandor, Susan Prock, Richard Clinton

Workshop: What is Fair? John Rawls and Distributive Justice - Kathleen Moore
Peasants, Prophets and Kings: Poverty and Wealth in the Bible - Marcus Borg
Economic Justice in the United States - Howard Zinn
Poverty, Race, Class and the University - Tommy Lott
Poverty and Violence - Carl Upchurch
Reading: Voices of the Poor in Literature - Multiple OSU Faculty
Panel Discussion: Women Living in Poverty
The New World Order and the Erosion of Democracy - Manuel Pacheco
Student Debate: Do Wealthy Nations have a moral obligation to help the world's poor?

The Rich and the Poor: Inequality in America

IDEAS

If economic power translates into political power, and economic power is concentrated in the hands of a small minority of the population, what is to become of democratic institutions?  How should wealth be distributed?  There are obviously different possible ways of doing so.   Which is the best?

An Interdisciplinary Panel: The Widening Gap between the Rich and the Poor

Manuel Pacheco, Philosophy OSU, Dylan Sandor, Economics OSU,
Susan Prock, Director Women's Center OSU, Richard Clinton, Political Science OSU

The panelists presented various facts about the distribution of wealth and the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the United States, and considered some of the possible causes and consequences of these developments.

A Theory of Justice

Workshop: What is Fair? John Rawls and Distributive Justice

Kathleen Dean Moore

Kathleen Moore, Philosophy Department,
Oregon State University

In this workshop, participants were asked to engage in a simulation of the process which John Rawls describes in his enormously influential book A Theory of Justice for determining how wealth and other goods ought to be fairly distributed in a society.

 

Marcus Borg portrait


Peasants, Prophets and Kings: Poverty and Wealth in the Bible

Marcus Borg,
Oregon State University

In this lecture Professor Borg explored the treatment of poverty and wealth in the Bible.

Howard Zinn


Economic Justice in the United States

Howard Zinn, Political Science,
Boston University

Howard Zinn presented his view that there has been inequality in America since it was founded, traced some of its negative consequences, and urged us to continue to struggle for economic equality.

Tommy Lott


Poverty, Race, Class and the University

Tommy Lott, Philosophy,
Saint Louis

Tommy Lott. Chair of the APA committee the Black Experience, argued in this lecture that the University should take a new and more activist role in dealing with issues of urban poverty and race.

Carl Upchurch


Poverty and Violence

Carl Upchurch, Director,
National Council for Urban Peace and Justice

In this lecture Carl Upchurch describes the personal growth and empowerment he experienced in prison as a result of reading Shakespeare and discussed the implications of lack of self esteem, and lack of education among the poor.


Reading: Voices of the Poor in Literature

OSU faculty

In this reading, ranging from the Chinese poet Tu Fu to Marx and voices from contemporary America, we got a dramatic sense of the effects of poverty.

Susan Prock


Panel Discussion: Women Living in Poverty

Moderator Susan Prock, director of the OSU Women's Center gathered a group of women on welfare as well as persons concerned with the then-just-passed Clinton welfare reform act, to discuss what it is like being on welfare and how the new laws may effect people on welfare.

Manuel Pacheco
The New World Order and the Erosion of Democracy

Manuel Pacheco, OSU Philosophy Department

In this lecture Pacheco explored globalism and some of its manifestations, privatization, lack of labor unions and restraints on environmental impacts, and its effects on a four countries, France and Canada, Mexico and Nigeria. Pacheco concluded that as organizations like the IMF gain power in determining the economic structure of the world, there is a significant loss of local power and an erosion of democracy.


Student Debate: Do Wealthy Nations have a moral obligation to help the world's poor?

Students enrolled in Phl 450/550 IDEAS MATTER taught by Manuel Pacheco, argued for positions originally articulated by Peter Singer who holds that we do have some obligation to help the poor, and Garrett Hardin who does not.