An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll recently asked, "Which concerns you more: the income gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of the country, or middle and working class Americans not being able to get ahead financially?" If you understand how the economy works, that isn't just the wrong question. It's probably a meaningless one.
In the next 10 years, the middle class's share of the total economic pie will continue to shrink, while the share going to the very top will continue to grow. But the current trend is not preordained to last, and only the most rigid technological determinist would assume this to be our inevitable fate.
As a country, and a world, we must understand that our destinies are linked. As business owners and integral employees within organizations, we can make a difference. We can offer our unique ideas and contributions that might help close the growing gap between the rich and the poor. We can examine ourselves for prejudices founded on fashionable beliefs rather than solid values.
Many who look to understand the incredible wealth gap are quickly lost in the exclusive language of finance. When it comes to the inner workings of financial institutions, the rise and fall of markets, the tangled web of international debt, or even just our own personal finances, most of us are lost. In short, we are financially illiterate.
Fair or not, the weight of history falls heavily on the living. A nation founded on the inalienable rights of humankind and the notion of social justice must work to provide opportunities for all children -- not just mine. Leadership and resources are needed to support those who have been shortchanged by family circumstances -- by poverty and the remaining vestiges of racism.