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Why The Wealth Gap Matters

Garry Knight
Flickr Creative Commons

The wealth gap in the United States is growing – and it has negative consequences beyond the economy. A recent report from the Pew Research Center shows the American middle class continues to lose financial ground to the upper class. 

Three schools within the University of North Carolina – UNC’s School of Law, the Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Kenan-Flagler Business School – have teamed up for a lecture series aimed at tackling this critical issue. The second lecture features an economic expert and a public health expert.

Jim Johnson blames some of this growing inequality on economic globalization. He is a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and the director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He talks to host Frank Stasio about how the changing economy contributes to the wealth gap.

Stasio also talks to public health expert Richard Wilkinson, the co-founder and a board member of The Equality Trust, a charity that works to improve the lives of people in the United Kingdom. Wilkinson is also a professor emeritus of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School. He shares some of the policy decisions in the 1980s that helped to drive growing inequality and the consequences of a society with a large wealth gap. Johnson and Wilkinson talk about solutions that would create shared prosperity and have a real effect in closing the wealth gap. 

Amanda Magnus is the editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She's also the lead producer for on-demand content at WUNC and has worked on "Tested" and "CREEP."
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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