Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 2:55pm to 4:10pm
Klarman Hall, Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium (G70) 232 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853
[Note: This speaker is coming as a part of the class "Controversies About Inequality." The lecture is open to the public.]
It is hard to take seriously the idea that we hold an authentic commitment to equality of opportunity when we do so little to realize it. Although the research literature contains more than sufficient evidence that this country has an inequality problem, neither politicians nor the social science community has mobilized in response. These communities have instead developed a strikingly narrow approach to policy reform, an ostensibly science-based approach that works on the assumption that the best that we can do is to contain the problem. It is largely taken for granted that we will never solve it.
In this talk, Professor Jackson argues that we will never make strides toward equality if we do not start to think radically. The appeal of precisely focused proposals for reform has diverted our attention from the root problem that current policy interventions are designed to address. She proposes an alternative, more radical, approach to policy reform that proceeds from a scientific foundation. In addition to any discussion about expedient, small-scale interventions, we need a wider discussion about where inequality comes from and what types of larger-scale changes might be needed to eradicate it. If this is truly a country committed to bringing its institutions into alignment with its commitments, we must abandon the policy of containment.
Michelle Jackson is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Stanford University