ABSTRACT

Part I followed the evolution of economic systems from the earliest hunter-gatherer societies to contemporary capitalism. While capitalism as an economic system has clearly led the way for unprecedented growth in the production of goods and services, it has not done so well in the distribution of the income and wealth that comes from production for the market. It is the core objective of this chapter to describe some of the outcomes of capitalism by focusing on the extent of income and wealth inequality that characterize life in the United States. Some people refer to today’s state of growing inequality as the “Two Americas.” By the end of this chapter, the reader will have a more concrete understanding of what this phrase means.