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Gated communities cited by Nobel economist as contributors to inequality

Gated communities cited by Nobel economist as contributors to inequality

Many people of faith have expressed concern over the widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.  At the most recent General Convention, Resolution A094 was based calling on the church to stand for greater economic equality by lobbying for changes in the tax code.  For many, income equality and a fairer distribution of the wealth of the nation are moral issues.

Turns out Angus Deaton, this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics, is concerned about the issue as well.  One area of his research especially calls out the existence of gated communities as drivers of inequality and disengagement according to an article at the Atlantic’s CityLab site:

the Nobel winner recently decried “the trend for the world’s richest people to divorce themselves from government control by living inside gated communities and buying their own healthcare and police protection.”

Because these communities are spatially isolated from the negative health and social outcomes associated with poverty, they take no pains to solve the problem of inequality—and in some cases may even exacerbate it. Here’s an excerpt of Deaton’s argument from his 2013 book The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, via Vox:



image: photo by Mel Evans, from CityLab


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Philip B. Spivey

In New York City, gated ‘communities’ abound. They are delineated by zip code. Some of these zip codes serve to keep people out. Other zip codes serve to keep people in.

I wouldn’t exactly describe them as communities; I think they are closer to ghettos of wealth and privilege and ghettos of survival.

Marie Bagwell

Gated communities are not allowed in the city of Portland, Oregon and has been the case for some time. A wise decision in my view.

Jay Croft

I agree, Marie.

When we were looking for a retirement community, neither of us wanted a gated community. We just lock our doors at night, that’s all.

Shirley O'Shea

There’s no getting away from it – income inequality is leading to massive social destabilization and the church has a duty to speak against it vigorously, even if it means alienating even more Christians. Usually, good medicine doesn’t go down easily.

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