On October 12, the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and the Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts are partnering to host a live-streaming of the Creative Time Summit, an annual conference in New York that brings together cultural producers–including artists, critics, writers, and curators–to discuss how their work engages pressing issues affecting our world. To jump-start the conversation in advance of the event, attendees have been asked to submit a paragraph on a keyword associated with one of the summit themes: Inequities, Occupations, Making, or Tactics. This posting is by Megan Ryan, American Cyberculture student at UC Berkeley.
One of the most talked about issues in America today is the widening income gap. The difference between the top and bottom levels of income has widened more than any other rich country. Many think that the largest gap is between the middle class and the poor, which has widened in the past two decades. In reality, the gap has grown the most between the middle class and the top earners of the country. Some economists think that this income inequality is partially to blame for the failure of our democracy and political infrastructure. The have created their own country within the United States in which they can afford to pay for all the things they need to succeed like education, housing, and the very rich can afford to pay off politicians to vote a certain way. Along with income inequality comes an inequality of opportunity. The rich can afford to expose their children to all the opportunities and experiences needed to be successful, but the poor have become less able to do so. In many ways a child’s future is tied to the education and income levels of their parents. In the context of education, the children who are of wealthy parents can afford to live in areas with good schools and then they get the right education to get them into elite colleges and so on. Also if you look at educational systems in other wealthy nations the United States is far behind their standards. In the countries with some of the best systems the teachers are specially selected and get paid very well. They hold the same prestige as American doctors or lawyers. If implemented in the United States, this would greatly improve the quality of education across all income levels throughout the nation.