Income inequality has increased in almost all advanced industrial economies in recent decades. The United States and Canada have been at the forefront of this trend, although the gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is substantially greater in the US. Rates of social mobility are also much lower in the United States than in Canada, making it more difficult for Americans to move up the ladder of economic success independent of who their parents happen to be. In Seeking Equality, John Harles considers the factors accounting for these cross-border differences. He surveys in considerable detail what is known about economic inequality in the United States and Canada and compares the respective political values that both shape and are shaped by ameliorative public policies. His comparison reveals important lessons for creating a healthier, more productive, cohesive, democratic, and just society.
John Harles is Distinguished Professor of Politics and International Relations at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.