Episode 249
Aug 4, 2020

An unequal country is a vulnerable country

Today on the show, we talk "radical reduction" with Atlantic staff writer George Packer.

A widening wealth gap isn’t good for democracy. Yet inequality has been on the rise for decades in the United States. So what does that tell us about the state of the republic?

“We see no one looking to the United States for leadership,” Atlantic staff writer George Packer said on today’s show. “That’s because we are no longer regarded as an example of a democratic power.”

In recent months, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated disparities between the rich and poor, exposing some of American society’s chronic ills. Packer says that for decades, inequality had led to rising mistrust in the system and in our leaders: “It’s a dangerous, volatile state of affairs.” Moreover, it’s a threat to national security.

On today’s show, our guest walks us through some historical examples of when stark inequities led to revolution and reform — and boils down everything from the New Deal to collard greens. Plus we’ll talk about information and misinformation, and we’ll hear from listeners about online speech, offline consequences and, of course, quarantine snacks. (Feed me, Seymour!)

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Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Jody Becker Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sam Anderson Associate Producer