How Little People Can Solve Inequality...

October 27th 2014

Lindsay Haskell

Cornel West, a professor of African American studies at Princeton University, seldom holds back on espousing his views about inequality. 

In a video for Big Think, he argues that too many public intellectuals have "idolized unfettered markets," at the expense of "workers [who] are being more and more marginalized."

"The poor," he says, "are being demonized because they're viewed as those persons who are irresponsible, who will not work, who are always looking for welfare." 

We live in an age now where, according to the Pew Economic Mobility Project, 65 percent of those born into the bottom fifth of incomes stay in the bottom two-fifths.

Why don't things change? One big reason, West notes, is that the politicians in office often don't follow through on the interests of the lower class: "Our system is broken. We have 71% of people who want universal healthcare and you can barely get through a reform bill with a weak public option. It's clear lobbyists from the top, pharmaceutical companies, drug companies, have tremendous influence. Much more than the demos from below."

Now, everything that West says may seem to be obvious facts about our nation, but the problem is just that: that we take these conditions as a given. We are complacent with the system and believe that it can never be fixed. And honestly - it may not be fixed anytime soon. It takes small steps to enact change, but the first step is demanding that change. This pervasive feeling of powerlessness if partly due to our own apathy. We complain about these dismal conditions, but we don't do anything about it.  

The first step? Make your voice heard in the upcoming midterm elections on November 4th and pledge to vote