This chapter provides background information on the broader developments of the political economy in both countries and local sociopolitical factors. It examines the high degrees of inequality in China (despite improvements in poverty reduction) and persistent and rising inequality in the United States. It also begins the discussion of infrastructural lock-ins through examinations of the political, economic, and social structures in Atlanta and Jinhua. The chapter provides some insights on how these factors are entangled. These are important contextual factors, which shape some of the path dependencies in which local decision-making processes are embedded. They also restrict climate adaptation options based on the way they interact with vulnerability. Most of the factors have developed over long periods and are very difficult, if not impossible to shape (e.g., topography). Maps are used to help illustrate the racial and income divides and interviews are drawn upon to highlight what these differences mean for the people. In the case of Atlanta, the discussion revolves around vulnerability in terms of lack of access to adequate healthcare, healthy food, and safe and adequate drinking water. In the case of Jinhua inequality in terms of the urban-rural divide, which is also reflected in income divides and greater exposure of the rural population to environmental hazards, and a lack of attention to the needs of migrant workers.