As inequality grows rapidly both in post-industrial societies and in the high-growth economies of the developing world, its centrality and ubiquity among problems of interest to social scientists is becoming only more apparent. And among all of inequality's causes and manifestations, access to education is key to understanding and combating it, both for improving a person's individual life chances and for increasing countries' national wealth. In Growing Gaps, Paul Attewell and Katherine S. Newman bring together an impressive group of scholars to closely examine the relationship between inequality and education. Indeed as many countries grow economically, it is unclear whether this growth leads directly to increased opportunity or more ferocious competition and thus more severe inequality. In many growing economies there has been a staggering growth of private higher education as demand for opportunity has outpaced supply, and families who must fund this human capital accumulation are only burdened with more and more debt.
Outlining the world-wide race for educational advantage, this volume takes a comparative approach, aiming to not only describe various nations' systems of education, but weave them together in a larger network of stratification. Covering almost every continent, Growing Gaps provides an overarching and essential examination of who is actually able to benefit from economic growth and who, because of the educational demands it brings about, it shuts out. The book will serve as a lasting achievement towards understanding the root causes of inequality in an increasingly interconnected global society where the worsening situations for some increasingly effect all of us.