Thomas B. Edsall | April 27 | The New York Times
For years now, people have been talking about the insulated world of the top 1 percent of Americans, but the top 20 percent of the income distribution is also steadily separating itself — by geography and by education as well as by income.
This self-segregation of a privileged fifth of the population is changing the American social order and the American political system, creating a self-perpetuating class at the top, which is ever more difficult to break into.
The accompanying chart, taken from “The Continuing Increase in Income Segregation,” a March 2016 paper by Sean F. Reardon, a professor of education at Stanford, and Kendra Bischoff, a professor of sociology at Cornell, demonstrates the accelerating geographic isolation of the well-to-do — the upper middle and upper classes (a pattern of isolation that also applies to the poor, with devastating effect).
[Comment: This would be a good demonstration of why I find single-minded focus on the 1% to be quite unproductive. Are those dynamics worthy of scrutiny? Certainly. The challenge is said scrutiny doesn’t go nearly far enough, for fear, I think, of confronting just how much one’s own position is founded on perquisites – much like the profound reluctance of the otherwise politically progressive / liberal etc. critique to look at challenges through an explicitly intergenerational lens. Pity – my experience has been that the best, most searching scrutiny is done in a mirror – not through a window. ~ JPD]
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