I was assigned to read the article, The American Dream is Harder to Find in Some Neighborhoods, in which I already agreed upon the topic, but this topic definitely reinforced my opinion. I had already significant background knowledge upon the topic, as I had to research the topic about how economic inequality affects low income neighborhoods for the liberal presentation I was apart of. However, this article brought a different technique in showing precisely and more visually economic inequality is affecting low income neighborhoods through the Opportunity Atlas. The Opportunity Atlas shows a map of the United States and if you live in a lower income neighborhood or household, you will less likely move up the economic ladder. I also was surprised that it was harder to escape economic statuses on the East Coast, rather than living more towards the West, which I would’ve thought the opposite. It was an interesting perspective and think this innovative tool will help guide economists and people in power to help propose solutions upon the issue of low-income neighborhoods and regions.
With Midterm elections approaching, I was explaining to my mother how election trends show that people who receive a higher education genuinely tend to vote more liberal than people who receive less education. However, I was not able to statistically support my statement, and didn’t even know how true that statement was, as I simply could not even recall how I knew that statement. With some research, I found an article that supported that indeed my statement was accurate, and now I was able to support my statement statistically through a Pew Research Poll. However, from what I learned of this week’s presentations, conservative and liberal principals don’t accurately reflect why this is a trend, since conservative values often try to benefit the rich and higher middle-class while liberal values often try to benefit the lower middle-class and poor. A college degree often means you will earn more money than people with less education such as a high school degree, so why are people voting for the opposite parties that don’t represent their economical statuses? And so I believe I have developed my research question.
This week consisted of attending resource centers on campus; The writing and speaking center. Being an off-campus student and having to commute everyday I feel limit my comprehension of all the tools offered on campus for the benefit of my education. I have felt distant not being involved at this school and feel that the visits to the writing and speaking center have definitely made me realize the vast options of tools and resources available to students and to take advantage of such tools. I learned in the speaking center that there is a oculus system, a VR system that can take you to any building on campus; a technological advanced tool as most classrooms are not always available for practice and with this system you can visually/virtually practice your presentation in the room without having to be physically within that classroom. I was not aware of this tool and hope to use it to my advantage within the near future, as well as other resources offered on campus.
The article, by Dave Rosnick who is an economist at The Center for Economic and Policy Research, criticizes a book titled Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising, by the organization for economic Co-operation and development. The author, claims the book did not explain why economic inequality kept rising. Technology was a listed factor in the book. Rosnick, however, classifies it as a statistically significant factor through their findings but does not contribute to economic inequality. Rather, Rosnick classifies post-secondary education as a leading factor as a more educated workforce creates increased competition for higher paying work, contradicting the book’s classification of post-secondary education as an equalizing factor. The author concludes the leading factor of economic inequality being increased financial sector compensation, and suggests to pay less attention to technology as a driving factor and rather other factors that contribute to inequality such as, bankers with a large income operating in a “bloated” financial system.
Market Economy: Where the economy decides how much to produce, and who to produce it to; supply and demand. An ideal.
Free-market economy: No government control.
- Depends on resources. (labor)
- Quantity of resources. (how much real estate you own)
- Values the market places, on resources that you own.
Private Enterprise: All the resources in the economy, are owned by private individuals.
Corporation: group of private ownership.
Wealth: Investments, inheritance, savings.
Income: What you earn.
Net worth: Assets- liability. (Everything you own – everything you owe)
- Wealth inequality is worse than Income inequality.
What determines the income we earn on all the resources that we own? Every resource has a market, will determine how much your resource is worth.
- Demand: as the price increases, than the demand will decrease. The quantity. Willingness and ability to buy.
- Supply: How much sellers want to sell/ make a profit.
Profit: Measure of how valuable a product is.
Prices: Demand and supply.
Surplus: When supply is more than demand.
- Prices drop
Deficit/Shortage: When demand is more than supply.
- Prices increase.
Equilibrium: When demand and supply are equal.
- Price stays the same. Stability.
I read an article this past week, titled; Latinos are more likely to believe in the American Dream but most say it is hard to achieve. I automatically found the topic intriguing as I believe the title statement is indeed true. The title was generated by a Pew Research Center 2016 survey of Hispanic adults. Around 77% of Hispanics stated most can get ahead with hard work, but 74% stated it is very/somewhat hard to achieve the American dream for Hispanics today. I did not find the results relatively surprising as growing up as a first generation American, I observed first hand the difficulties that lead to the conclusions surveyed above. What did surprise me however, were the two life goals rated most highly by Latinos; being a good parent, which 51% of Hispanics voted as being their top priority, and 49% having the resources to provide for their family. Seeing the different priorities classified as the American dream by other Hispanics was quite surprising to me, as I had always considered a different priority for myself as the American dream; Education. It led me to wonder what specifically my mother classified her American dream to be. I proceeded to ask her, and caught her by surprise as I had never asked her this direct question. She classifies the American dream differently from the results the survey concluded. Although she owns a house, and lives comfortably financially, the hard work she endures on her body everyday is not what she imagines the American dream to be. My mother identifies her American dream being educated (working smart not hard), and providing the best condition for her family, which is where I believe I have gained my roots of achieving the American dream.
I had always known there was a significantly visible gap between the poor, middle class, and rich classes in the United States. What I had not known, however, until watching the Wealth Inequality in America video in class, is how wealth is unequally distributed and heavily skewed in the United States. Before this video, I classified wealth as the ideal distribution shown in the video, as well as many others who thought the same. Seeing the reality of the wealth distribution in America was definitely quite unexpected, as I had not imagined the distribution to be extremely skewed to the rich. It is indeed mind-blowing but my initial response to this video is quite sickening. Definitely a mind-opener for me, both politically and economically. I shall most definitely not let the analysis of this video be brushed aside.
Ragged Dick has become one of my all time favorite books. Transitioning to college has been pretty rough to say the least, and being assigned to read this book was almost coincidentally perfect timing. I have to admit, when I first picked up the book and began to read some chapters, I was not hooked or very impressed. A few chapters in, and I was completely devoted in understanding the novel. I felt motivated and strived for Dick’s ambition. Although there were many scenarios in this novel that were deemed unrealistic and purely a result of luck, I still felt Dick’s motivation to become a better version of himself for a better future was true and an accurate reflection of many, including myself. Dick started from nothing, and although he did not become rich by the end of the novel, he became comfortable by working hard and smart. Ragged Dick reminds me most of my hard-working mother, and she is my biggest motivator. I had forgotten why I worked hard all these years when I started college, and this novel reminded me of the goals I have to accomplish and my loved ones who support me.
I genuinely enjoyed the video chat with Naomi. It was a different perspective I was able to observe and able to express school systems, being a student in the United States, to a foreigner and watch their initial facial and verbal reactions is enough to speak for itself. What I most enjoyed from the video chat however, was one initial question Naomi asked, “Recall a time you remember learning?” I instantly remembered a lesson I had just learned this year. I realized my true aspirations and what I wish to strive for. This particular class, with a stranger that I technically had never formally met, is what made me realize I shouldn’t take a lesson of such value for granted, and so my course has changed.
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