Brian Barry on inequality


Barry spoke at Maryland on Friday, making a good old-fashioned case

for economic equality. He cited the following statistics as evidence that

we do not have much social mobility in the US: If you are a male

born in the poorest tenth of the population, you have only a 1.3 percent

chance of reaching the top ten percent during your lifetime, and just

a 3.7 percent chance of becoming at all wealthy (in the top fifth). If

you are born in the bottom tenth, the odds are more than even that you

will never make it out of the bottom fifth. Barry’s source is Samuel Bowles

and Herbert Gintis, "The Inheritance of Inequality," Journal

of Economic Perspectives 16 (2002) 3 – 30, p. 3.