SOCI-154 Sociology of the 1 Percent
Spring for 2017-2018
Hardly a day passes when the 1 percent is not in the news arousing political and moral passions. Today, less than 1 percent of Americans own nearly 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. The wealthiest 400 Americans are worth roughly $1.37 trillion. This amazing concentration of wealth at the top has been accompanied by a falling middle class and a growing number of Americans living in poverty.
All of us have strong feelings about social justice and fairness and it is easy to grasp at simple solutions to complex problems. In this course, however, we move beyond moral and political posturing by examining the sociology of the 1 percent in order to understand the long-term significance of this concentration of wealth, its effect on our commonweal, and our common destiny as a people.
SOCI-154-01 Sociology of the One Percent
Fall for 2017-2018
Today less than one percent of Americans own nearly forty percent of the nation’s wealth, more than the bottom 95% combined. The wealthiest four hundred Americans are worth $1.37 trillion dollars. This amazing concentration of wealth has been accompanied by a shrinking middle class and a growing number of Americans living in poverty.
In this course we will examine the sociology of the one percent in order to understand its long-term significance, its effect on our society and our common destiny as a people. We will begin by examining the facts about wealth concentration and then we will move into analyzing the issue from a variety of perspectives.
The central questions of this course include: What are the current facts about wealth concentration in the US today? What underlying conditions gave rise to the increased concentration of wealth? How has the distribution of wealth changed over time? What does this growing inequality mean for our society and for the American Dream? What structural factors brought about these changes in the distribution of wealth in the US and around the world? What, if anything, should be done about it?
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