What Is Necessary for Coalitional Movements to Be Successful in Addressing Inequalities in the U.S.?
The government's role should therefore be to focus its resources on helping the impoverished. In the long run, helping the truly poor is a much more beneficial goal than narrowing inequalities. Past attempts by the government to halt the explosion of income inequality have included a more progressive tax system, increased earned income tax credits and other policies that attempt to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.
Many social movement activists came from middle- or working-class backgrounds and possessed the courage and skill to organize others, risking great personal sacrifice and danger. Nonviolent themselves, many of these activists faced ridicule, violence, and other hardships in their efforts to push their fellow citizens toward more enlightened positions in line with the country’s stated values.
Consequently, the solutions must also reflect the nature of these causes. Existing inequality in healthcare has prompted the UK government to initiate a culture of targets and performance. Consequently, it has come up with some few strategies. First, we have Public Service Agreements (PSAs). Ministries have developed a department (spending) to ease their works with the finance ministry. PSAs can play a fundamental role in reducing disparities in the provision of health services. However, this department lacks the structure of fulfilling this role since that was not its primary aim. Deakin and Parry propose the linkage between the PSAs policy, outcomes and accountability because of the social policy this department can address (Deakin and Parry, 2000). Second, the famous Acheson Report has no provisions for reducing health inequalities. The report notes that causes of health inequalities are complex and involve elements which interact. Therefore, the government did not provide any provision for addressing such inequalities. Consequently, it introduced some targets in 2001 (Acheson, 1998).
While such work lays an important foundation for understanding contentious politics, it fails to fully integrate movements as actors in the American political system and public policy process. As such, the ways movements exercise power in the American political system, and the ways that power is constrained, are often not clearly conceptualized.
Acheson, D 1998, Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health, The Stationery Office, London.
Deakin N and Parry R, 2000, The Treasury and Social Policy: The Contest for Control of Welfare Strategy, Palgrave, Basingstoke.
Department of Health 1999, Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation. White Paper Command 4386, The Stationery Office, London.
Flinders, A 2002, ‘Governance in Whitehall’, Public Administration, vol.80 no. 1, pp. 51–75.
Illsley, R 1999, ‘Reducing Health Inequalities: Britain’s Latest Attempt’, Health Affairs, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 45–46.
Marmot, M and Wilkinson, G 1999, Social Determinants of Health, Oxford University Press, Oxford.