The Economics of Race and Income Disparity: An Analysis into Why Educational Progress Failed to Reduce Economic Disparity Between African Americans and Whites from 1980-2000

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Carr, Michael
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The African American-White Income Gap 1980-2000: Why African American Educational Progress Did Not Reduce Economic Disparity
Economics, in my opinion, is a discipline that should be founded in social responsibility instead of economic responsibility. While these two ideas often go hand in hand, it is not always the case. As I go further in my study of economics, I have begun to question mainstream economics. The notion that the free market benefits all does not seem to apply to the real world. Though one can argue that we have never truly had a free market, and therefore the theory has never actually been tested, the movements in the 1980's and 1990's towards a freer market has not equally benefited all. My choice of inequality as the topic for this paper is a reflection of my deep-rooted commitment to society as a whole. I see the increase in inequality, domestically and internationally, as a failure of mainstream theory to perform the basic function of economics: improve the lives of everyone. In light of this, I have chosen a small chunk of the study of inequality, the disparity between African American and white family income within the United States, as a starting point for my career in economics. This topic raises two fundamental issues in the American economy, which Americans generally do not like to face: American capitalism does not provide equal opportunity to everyone for success, mainstream theory does not accurately explain the determinants of income the source of inequality, and that the barrier to success may be a result of American attitudes and actions. I feel that it is important to revisit the race debate of the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's to help the American economy reach the goal Americans have established for it, equal opportunity for all. This paper is my first attempt to contribute to the renewal of this debate.
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