Pirates of Democracy: An Inquiry into America's Growing Income Gap for Citizens, Public Representatives, and Public Policy Analysts

By Louise Gonsalvez.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Is America evolving into a plutocracy, marred by an alarming income gap, and steered by a centralized rich who control Wall Street, government, and multinational operations? Not all these questions can be analyzed in one analysis, but recent studies can confirm that a substantial income gap exists in the United States, the gap has risen drastically over the last two decades, and that this phenomenon is dampening the American dream and having social implications. Much more research needs to be done to identify: a) the policies that are enabling this and assess their ethical, moral and democratic merits or lack thereof; b) the impact that such income disparity is having on the welfare of the state and marginalized groups; c) how sustainable such a system is; and d) how citizens, policy-makers, and government representatives can effectively respond to America’s income gap (e.g., reforms). Using critical analysis (e.g., critical social theory) and a corresponding critical framework (e.g., Freire, 1970; Giroux, 2011; Leonardo, 2004), this paper confirms that the income gap is a phenomenon that exists, exposes some of the economic mechanisms that facilitate the growing income gap, reveals how some demographics are becoming disenfranchised with the American dream, and questions how socio-economically sustainable a system with such a vast income gap is.

Keywords: Income Gap, CEO Severances, Taxation Policies, 1%, Corporate Greed, Multinational Corporations, Sustainability

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.47-57. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 456.615KB).

Louise Gonsalvez

PhD Student and Teacher, University of Windsor, Fernie, BC, Canada

I am a high school teacher, activist, and PhD student. I was on the writing team for the BC Ministry of Education Social Justice 12 course and was one of the first teachers to pilot this very popular course. I have been on the British Columbia Teachers' Federation Committee for Action on Social Justice for five years and have created workshops, policy, and articles for them. For my Masters degree, I examined water policy in South Africa.