America’s New Gilded Age
Widening socioeconomic divergence in the U.S. has taken center stage in the 2016 presidential campaigns, with everything from campaign financing to banking practices under scrutiny as progressive candidates challenge growing wealth inequality. But economic analysts have noted how beyond governance, socioeconomic divisions are increasingly becoming codified through atomized marketing and service provision practices. In business, product innovation has increasingly targeted the wealthiest Americans, creating both exclusive-service clubs and an aspirational marketing pipeline that some analysts say has fueled resentment.
Travel has been a particularly stratified industry: cruise lines maintain rigid hierarchies of accommodations and leisure facilities, while distinct class systems on airliners provide wildly different flying experiences for travelers. Talking points from luxury executives make clear that money is not the only bottom line: those of lower income willing to take the financial hit find their entry attempts circumvented by corporate policies that maintain a carefully curated elite. The New York Times examines how widening inequality is impacting innovation, service, and mobility in the U.S.
“In an Age of Privilege, Not Everyone Is in the Same Boat” (The New York Times)
“Growing wealth inequality ‘dangerous’ threat to democracy: experts” (Reuters)
“Is the fear of a financial education widening the wealth gap in America?” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Edward Linsmier/The New York Times)