Income Inequality Has Become A World-Wide Problem
Kevin Williamson of the National Review writes on the topic of income inequality,
“Low-income people have low incomes because people don’t value their labor very much. Forcing employers to pay more isn’t going to make them value that labor more highly.”
Ilene Davis of Florida Today writes,
Bottom line: Much of the income inequality in America has nothing to do with the rich making lots of money. It has to do with people making choices in life that make it almost impossible for them to succeed financially in life.
While economic growth has helped raise the poor from extreme poverty around the world, attitudes and arguments about income inequality, such as the ones above, confuse the issues of income inequality, much in the same way trash science was used confuse people about global warming and climate change. Having become wealthy on the labor of others, the rich are unwilling to share their accumulated wealth, preferring to hoard it. They lock their money up in saving accounts and investments. Much of their hoarding is based on fear of the future.
In the last 15 years, there has been a rise in living standards for many of the world’s poorest, thanks partly to the Millennium Development Goals. Research, however, shows such growth is unlikely to continue. With the new Global Goals launched this week, the people of the world are asking for more. They are demanding more choices and greater opportunities for themselves and others. The 17 goals range from “global access to clean drinking water” to “peaceful, more inclusive societies.”
As countries get richer, each extra dollar of the gross domestic product buys less social progress. In essence, once people stop starving, the rich lose interest. They have done their part.
The direction a country takes on social progress depends on the choices made in using its resources. Philosophies of how it protects the environment, and how it treats its citizens become the custom. For example, Costa Rica already has a high level of social progress. Though technically poor, the country is functioning at a level comparable to Italy, a G7 nation.
Costa Rica’s people have chosen to prioritize education, healthcare, and the environment. In terms of the well-being and happiness of its citizens, Costa Rica is doing better than far richer countries. Nations such as Mexico, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, have chosen to focus on economic growth — making the wealthy wealthier, while neglecting issues of safety, health care, and human rights, and the environment.
In the United States, Republican politicians have shifted funding from education, healthcare, and the environment to supporting a philosophy of extreme capitalism. These politicians seem to prefer the philosophies of Mexico, Russia, and Saudi Arabia despite the high potential for a negative outcome.
It is about governmental priorities.
Basic services such as health, education, and protecting the environment need to be established as priorities by governments world-wide. If every country had Costa Rica’s sense of priorities, social progress would skyrocket around the world. However, as long as the wealthy control governments, it will never happen.
Featured image courtesy of Democracy Chronicles via Flickr.com