Thursday, April 8, 2010

Junior Theme

After trying to pick topics for a while, I think the question I will be focusing my junior theme on is (for now, anyway-- it needs a crazy amount of hacking down):

Why are there ~40 million people in the United States under the poverty line (12% of the population) while US is the world's richest nation?

At first I was deciding between either a topic related to wealth distribution or welfare programs in the United States, but I think focusing on poverty will allow me to look a bit at the history of both along the way.

Because at this point the topic is so broad, the process of looking in to it will eventually allow me to pick a more specific topic related to the economic structure/public policy/wealth in the united states.

--- [edit]

Meh. Perhaps not. I read a bunch of articles and watched one of my sources-- Capitalism, A Love Story-- and while they were interesting and raised a lot of questions for me, they didn't really help me specify my area of focus more.

Another major problem I guess I'm having with formulating a specific why question is that asking a why question implies knowing the state of how things are without making too many generalizations, which takes a lot of time. I don't know that much about the current state of welfare, poverty, the US economy, etc., so I feel like I still might have a ways to go before confidently asking a question and sticking with it. That might be normal to some degree, though. List of tentative other questions:

Why is there an achievement gap in US schools (compared to other industrialized 'first world' nations)?

Why is the US military composed the way it is (ex. who is represented in it most/least and why)?

Why did we do a bailout?

*something about welfare (ex. perception of welfare/the poor, comparing corporate to other forms of welfare)*

We'll see...


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