Quantitative Literacy

                             Do the numbers really mean what they seem to?


     Race                         Gender                    Class


Unadjusted number that suggests discrimination or injustice.



Blacks 12% of pop 40% of prisoners

Or 50% of those stopped and frisked


Women make

$.77 on the dollar


Top 1% of households make 20% of income -suggests injustice



What other factors

might account for the differential?


Could crime rate differentials account for the differentials?

Could the war on drugs itself not racism be the real problem?

Could family structure inequality be a factor?


Could preference for flexible hours,

or lower paying

care-giving professions

account for most of the difffential?


Should the numbers be adjusted for hours worked?

Workers per household?



So what?



Facts and questions


Women are 50% of pop only 5% of prisoners.



Adjusting for these Harvard economist Claudia Goldin

finds the gap virtually non-existent.


Is she wrong?

The top 1% pay 40% of income taxes – twice their share of income.


Is that fair?

Who decides?


Is meritocracy bad?

Is the real problem equality of opportunity not inequality of income?