The Mis-measure of Inequality

Growing income inequality may be one of the most important economic issues of the next several decades. Despite a growing concentration of income and wealth, however, it seems that no one is willing to actually call themselves or anyone else rich.

Take this story about the magnificent Stephen Curry from EPSN’s Grantland, for example. Stephen, the son of NBA star Dell Curry, has his childhood described in this way,

…the house his parents built in 1996, the year Steph turned 8, on a 16-acre plot a few minutes’ drive from the center of Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s a big house, six bedrooms. Steph’s father, Dell, played shooting guard for the local NBA franchise, the Hornets, and a couple of years earlier he’d won the league’s sixth man of the year award; the Currys saw this as their dream home, designed it themselves, had cabinets flown in from Africa… still, it’s possible to imagine the Currys’ life there, the upper-middle-class childhoods resplendently sprawling over the place.

Upper-middle class?  Seriously?

By the time Curry’s family built the house in 1996, Dell had already earned over $7 million from a basketball career that would eventually make him nearly $20 million in salary alone.

The median worker in the US earned $272,533 over the 14 years during which Stephen’s dad played in the NBA, or roughly 1/72nd of what Dell Curry earned.

Stephen had an extremely privileged childhood that 99.9% of kids can’t even dream of. Yes, he was, say it together, rich. This doesn’t take away from the fact that he used the advantages of his birth to become, perhaps, the best player in the NBA.

But Stephen Curry, upper-middle class kid? Please…

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Author: Victor Matheson

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