Join Paul Solman for a Chat about Economic Inequality in America

BY Paul Solman  October 26, 2011 at 5:43 PM EDT

Paul Solman Twitter chat Join Paul on Twitter using #inequalitychat.

Editor’s Note: Wednesday night on the NewsHour, libertarian law professor Richard Epstein sits down with Paul Solman for a frank discussion on a topic that’s been front-and-center on many of our pages as of late (and inspired many of you to comment): economic inequality.

Making Sense

Epstein, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, is a proponent of the controversial argument that inequality is actually a good thing, as it can be used as a driving incentive for innovation. That innovation, according to Epstein, can help build up society better than by trying to close the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’

“If you let people go through voluntary transactions that produce mutual gain you will increase overall welfare. But increased overall welfare will produce greater skews in income because in a world with genuine opportunities you will create billionaires. In a world without it, the people at the bottom will remain where they were, there’ll be nobody at the top to subsidize them, so everybody will turn out to be worse off.”

We want to know what you think. How has inequality affected you? Is it a good thing? Bad? Should we just get over the fact that inequality exists, as one commenter on Facebook suggested? Join Paul for a live Twitter chat Friday, Oct. 28 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET.

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A rundown of how the #inequalitychat will work:
What: You will need a Twitter account to directly participate, but can follow along here even if you’re not signed up.

When: Friday, Oct. 28 from 2 – 3pm EDT. Can’t make it? Send us your questions ahead of time in the comments below or on Twitter, using the hashtag #inequalitychat.

Where: The chat can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #inequalitychat. We’ll post a recap on Making Sen$e by Monday.

Also on the inequality front, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report today outlining where different U.S. cities fall on the scale of income inequality. This report uses the Gini Index, which we used previously to show how other countries compare to the United States in income inequality.

Read more about ‘Which Cities Have the Biggest Gaps Between Rich and Poor? ‘ on The Rundown.

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions _Follow Paul on Twitter._