The list of costs--crime, insecurity at work, stress on families, skewed business decisions, and political turmoil--is neither exhaustive nor definitive. The magnitude of the costs is not well known, because there is little in our history to provide guidance. But the ultimate cost of increasing inequality lies in the potential for an apartheid economy, one in which the rich live aloof in their exclusive suburbs and expensive apartments with little connection to the working poor in their slums. Just as many South African whites were blind to the plight of nonwhites, so too in an apartheid economy will many of us be blind to citizens of lower economic status--if we are not blind to them already. When was the last time you were shocked by the homeless?To be fair, Freeman also cites some benefits:
For people with high incomes, however, inequality has some benefits. If I am rich and you are poor, I can hire you cheaply as my gardener, maid, or nanny. Not surprisingly, the personal services sector has grown with the rise of inequality. Moreover, if the middle class shrinks and buys fewer tickets to basketball games and concerts, there will also be more places for the well-off at these events.Freeman made some specific suggestions in the Boston Review to reduce inequality. Responses.
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