“The gap between the rich and poor in the United States …has been widening for some time”.

Consider the following quote from chapter 14 of the eText: ”The gap between the rich and poor in the United States …has been widening for some time. In recent years, the gap has been the widest since our government began to keep records on it in 1947” (eText, p.143). For example, one report states that: “Since 2009, 95% of U.S. economic gains have gone to the wealthiest 1% of the population” (“Income Inequality: Why Does the Gap Keep Widening?” The Week Feb. 7, 2014).
But not only is there a widening gap between the “Rich and the Rest of Us” (to use the title of a recent book by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West: LINK
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), there is also the ever widening reach of marketing into everything or what Michael Sandel calls the marketization of society. In Sandel’s TED Talk video, he expresses this concern that America is becoming a market society, meaning a society that uses monetary rewards to motivate desired behaviors in all aspects of life (LINK
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).
For our discussion, please answer the following two questions:
[1] Discuss the growing income inequality in the U.S. and the world with someone mature enough to have some perspective from experience about it. Ask them what they think about the widening gap between the rich and the rest of us in America, as our course materials speak of this problem. How has the economic trend for middle class Americans affected them? How as it affected you?
[2] Two examples of the marketization of society today that Sandel discusses are cash for grades and pay for getting around long lines. What, if anything, is wrong with these practices? Beyond what Sandel discusses, think of at least one social, personal, or relational good or value that you think would be negatively affected by marketization. And explain why.