The Inequality, the Neoliberalism, and the Structural Violence

Two sessions stuck out to me today. The first was about the economics of income inequality and the second dealt with the the political history/hegemony which has led us into not only income inequality but in addition an exclusionary system due to the continued shrinking of public space.

Dr. Dayton-Johnson worked with us through some readings (especially those of us without a knack for economics) about how income inequality impacts growth. I was surprised to learn from a reading (of the IMF of all places) that redistribution does actually contribute to growth, contrary to much of the dialogue normally heard. I also enjoyed the discussion of income inequality being a form of structural violence. I have known for a long which that income inequality is something negative for an country looking for positive growth, but had a difficult time putting to words why that is. Dr. Dayton-Johnson led us to realize that the large percentage of people at the losing end of income inequality are left out of the credit market due to a lack of any collateral and therefore little or no capital accumulation (physical or human).

The afternoon session hit home the reality of the hegemonic discord and historic block that is shaping our society and lives. Dr. Arrocha passionately led us in a discussion of neoliberalism and how exclusionary the politics of neoliberalism has made our society. This was not the first time I have been in such a lecture or read about the topic, but I was nonetheless struck by the depth this philosophy has infiltrated our lives. And I was surprised once again at how in many aspects or moments of my own life I had simply accepted such a situation as “normal,” for lack of a better term, and never questioned it. For example, Dr. Arrocha’s point was the ever decreasing amount of public spaces. And with an increasing amount of marginalized people with diminishing public spaces to be present in and make themselves heard, it is a no-win situation. Throughout the discussion I thought of several headlining situations of violence around the U.S. and the world which have fallen victim to such structural violence, and in the process wasting resources on overloading our prisons with persons who in many ways probably acted in a way that any of us would have if in their shoes.

This has given me a lot to think about for future lectures and visits during SPP.