Inequality and the Americas (Fall 2012)

A manhole cover.  Photo by
(Photo by

In Fall 2012, CLAS assembled a series to examine the growing economic inequality in the United States and throughout the Americas. While the first event was held at Berkeley, the succeeding events used the then-novel approach of webcasting between participants in Latin America and the United States.  Featuring political actors and academics, the events drew out trends and topics in economic development and public policy that continue to have resonance today. Below are the original descriptions of the events.

Latin America is no stranger to income inequality. It has long been known as the most unequal region in the world, while the U.S. historically has been associated with high social mobility or the “American Dream.” The latest data indicate an unexpected trend: a modest decrease in Latin American inequality and the unraveling of the American dream in the U.S.

Inequality is a critical issue for the economic future of both areas. The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) engaged this theme with a new, transcontinental series  “Inequality: A Dialogue for the Americas” in Fall 2012. Utilizing videoconferencing and the Web to bring together live audiences on two continents, CLAS brought a range of perspectives from both Latin America and the United States to the fore. Speakers included leading academics and political leaders; participants included students, faculty, community members, entrepreneurs, and labor leaders. Videos of the dialogue — including some surprising findings — are available below.

Ricardo Lagos and Robert Reich
"Inequality in the Americas"

Robert Reich
Ricardo Lagos (left) and Robert Reich.
(Photo by Jim Block.)

Ricardo Lagos was president of Chile from 2000-2006. He is president of the Fundación Democracia y Desarrollo. In 2006 Chancellor Birgeneau awarded him Berkeley’s highest honor, the Berkeley Medal.

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Previously, he served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. He is a founding editor of The American Prospect and chair of Common Cause.
Eduardo Porter New York Times column featuring the work of Robert Reich

Co-sponsored with the Berkeley Law School.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Short highlight video of Ricardo Lagos
Short highlight video of Robert Reich
Full event video and photos


Oscar Landerretche and Brad DeLong
The Politics of Inequality

Brad DeLong and Oscar Landerretche
Brad DeLong speaks in Berkeley as Oscar Landerretche and other participants listen in Santiago, Chile.
(Photo by Brittany Gabel.)

Oscar Landerretche is the director of the School of Economics and Business at Universidad de Chile. Previously, he was the Executive Secretary of the first phase of Michelle Bachelet’s presidential campaign. He is an editorial columnist for La Tercera.

Brad DeLong is a professor of economics at UC Berkeley, chair of the Political Economy of Industrial Societies major, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy from 1993 to 1995.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Short highlight video
- Full video and photos of the event


Paul Pierson and Daniel Hojman
New Perspectives on Inequality

Paul Pierson and Daniel Hojman
Paul Pierson in Berkeley and Daniel Hojman in Chile.
(Photo by Flavia Lake.)

Paul Pierson is the John Gross Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley. His most recent book is Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, co-authored by Jacob Hacker. From 2007 to 2010 he served as Chair of the Berkeley Political Science Department.

Daniel Hojman is the director of the Economics Ph.D. and Master’s programs at the Universidad de Chile and an associate professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Short highlight video
Full event video and photos of the event

Sergio Fajardo and Emmanuel Saez
"Inequality Across the Americas"

Sergio Fajardo and Emmanuel Saez
Sergio Fajardo (on screen) and Emmanuel Saez.
(Photo by Jim Block.)

Sergio Fajardo was elected governor of Antioquia (economically the most important province of Colombia) in 2011. As Mayor of Medellín (2003-2007), he received international recognition for his innovative and effective policies.  Governor Fajardo holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Article featuring Sergio Fajardo speaking on violence for CLAS (.pdf)

Emmanuel Saez is Professor of Economics and directs the Center for Equitable Growth at UC Berkeley.  Among many honors, he was awarded the John Bates Clark medal by the American Economics Association in 2009 and a MacArthur Fellowship for his research on income inequality in 2010.
Article from the New York Times on Professor Saez' work
Paul Krugman New York Times column featuring the work of Piketty and Saez

Monday, November 19, 2012

Full video and photos of the event