America’s Economic Caste System

The Wall Street Journal ran an article not long ago about one of the ways that injustice in the American economy is perpetuated.  We all know that those from privileged backgrounds have a better chance of getting ahead themselves because of the connections their parents have and the networks they are born into.  This article quantifies how this is accomplished in a specific area – internships.

 

With the summer internship season running in high gear, the data reinforces the notion that internships contribute to a widening income inequality gap. Financially well-off students with good networks in place often have an easier time scoring paid internships than students from lower-income backgrounds, whose parents and friends may not have similar connections to help them land paid summer gigs.

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, argued Tuesday in an op-ed in The New York Times, that “America’s current internship system, in which contacts and money matter more than talent, contributes to an economy in which access and opportunity go to the people who already have the most of both.”

 

This article illustrates the stratification of our society very clearly, showing that those who start out ahead tend to stay ahead, keeping everyone else behind simply by blocking access.  Leadership, by definition, is only for one person at a time per group of people being led, so there is automatically little opportunity for leadership.  The world mostly needs followers who actually do the work rather than an abundance of leaders, but the fact that those who traditionally have been from “the leading families” are the only ones who are given leadership opportunities, regardless of ability, is deeply wrong.  This is why we had our revolution, to allow the average people to lead themselves.  It appears that this has failed, and that those who are able to seize power, namely, the most aggressive, again have taken it, although in a less obvious way.  We may not title our nobility, but they are there nonetheless, in their massive houses and far too powerful jobs, exerting influence behind the scenes, buying politicians, and arranging circumstances in such a way that justice cannot be done.

 

Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not.

By shutting out [poorer] students from entry-level experiences in certain fields, entire sectors engineer long-term deficits of much-needed talent and perspective. In other words, we’re all paying the price for unpaid internships.

 

We need to make the changes necessary for everyone to flourish.  Because we do not equalize access to opportunity, we all suffer, so suffering is a large part of how we experience Oneness.  Is this what we want?  Can you imagine how rich our lives would be if we all made a contribution?

 

Copyright © 2016 Teresa Chupp.  All rights reserved.

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