Reversing Extreme Inequality

Publication Date



Extreme economic inequality has taken hold in the United States. Fostered in part by misguided policies and intentional choices, it can be reversed through purposeful action. However, social policies created for the industrial age face relentless political opposition and are not meeting the social welfare challenges of the information age. a new social contract is required. This paper elaborates key components of that contract, identifying social innovations to increase income at the bottom of society and reduce wealth disparities. Through such innovations, the United States can reverse extreme economic inequality. Because of social work’s history in addressing injustice and reforming policy, the profession is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge and has critical roles to play in addressing it.

Document Type

Working Paper


Social Innovation Partnerships


Grand Challenges for Social Work

Original Citation

Lein, L., Romich, J. L., & Sherraden, M. (2015). Reversing extreme inequality (Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative Working Paper No. 16). Cleveland, OH: American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.


Grand Challenges for Social Work


Grand Challenges for Social Work, economic opportunity