Sam Pizzigati Can a society with desperately poor people ever be a good society? Almost all Americans today, outside a few cranks, readily agree on an answer. No truly good society, Americans believe, sees abject poverty as anything but a deep social stain. We do certainly differ on how to rub that stain out. But rub we must. So says George W. Bush. So says Edward Kennedy. So says every significant political leader, conservative or liberal, on America's contemporary national political stage. But what about abject wealth? Can a society with awesomely rich people ever lay claim to the "good society" label? In our mainstream political life, we have essentially shoved this question off the table. We worry about the absence of wealth. The concentration of wealth, we have concluded, need not concern us. Even politicos who style themselves as insurgents share this indifference to grand concentrations of income and wealth. "The thing to do is concentrate on the 90 percent of people who don't have what they need and make sure they have it," as Howard Dean argued during his run for the White House, "and not worry about the people who make $500,000 a year. Of
The Good Society – Penn State University Press
Published: Dec 6, 2005
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