Even with that effort, the South has always lagged behind when it comes down to progressive ideas and basic infrastructure. Concentrated wealth and education in one spot usually does facilitate innovation. Evening the score is a bit like asking someone to run a race when another runner has been given a thirty second head start. But to return to the column that provoked my reply, racism, if not overt, then certainly institutionalized is to blame, in part. But essentially the system's failing is that that so many of us place full faith in a system designed to concentrate wealth in small pockets and disinclined to assist those who do not have the privilege of favorable birth. Capitalism provides no incentive to do anything more than make money and to hang on to what it already has. I think constantly about how lucky I am to have been born middle class. Having some degree of income that carries over from generation to generation influences everything: our basic physical health, our standard of living, how satisfied we are with our life, our level of education, what jobs are available to us, and many others crucial factors.
Income disparities create the ills that confound us as a society. Instead of fixing them fully, we devise band-aid solutions which sound effective but only treat the effects of a problem, not the causes. The way to solve a crime wave is not to build more jails. The way to address unwanted pregnancies is not to shame, guilt, and otherwise seek to humiliate young women. The way to get children and adults to eat healthily is to provide the resources needed to buy healthy products, not condemn them for being overweight. We can no longer wash our hands of the problem, or worse yet, outsource it to someone else. This is no longer somebody else’s riddle to solve. Should we be unwilling to act, we should never be allowed to complain about the aftereffects. It's easy enough to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but impossible when someone steals your boots.