Inequality and Poverty
Robin Hood is a storybook hero. Defender and vindicator of the oppressed. A courageous equalizer.
All children love Robin Hood. But not all adults do.
Many adults believe in a form of “economic Darwinism,” where the strongest earn their place at the top of the wealth food chain. To take away their hard-earned (sometimes) wealth is unfair and demoralizing to them. In their minds, wealth inequality is just a part of life.
On the other hand, some believe that socialism or communism is the most fair system. Since all people are equal in value, we should all have equal access to resources.
But can’t we find a spot between Darwinism and communism? Surely, there is place for economic achievement coupled with social responsibility? A quick look at the world over the last 100-200 years should convince us that landing at either end of the spectrum is self-destructive.
Communism and socialism would favor taxing at near 100%, and then redistributing the wealth. But if you had that situation, who would want to work harder? These political experiments have been tested, proven faulty (at least, on a large scale) and dismissed.
On the other hand, ignoring the plight of the poor is disastrous for any country’s economy. This is especially true when the middle class is shrinking. Go ahead; research what happened to any country when its middle class shrinks or disappears over the decades. The economy (and the country as a whole) tanks.
Furthermore, you have to admit that something is wrong when there is a racial correlation to the widening wealth gap. In 25 years, the wealth gap between white and black families has tripled. And equal achievements between white and black families have not yielded equal wealth rewards.
What’s the solution? Not just simple redistribution and handouts (though I think some level of taxation and welfare is needed). In a report on Inequality and Poverty in the United States, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) points to education reform, “to provide disadvantaged students with the skills needed to fully realise their potential.”
When it comes to poverty, there is injustice in the inequality of opportunity. Therefore, we have to Just Do Something.
- Equality Is Not Equity
- Poverty and Power
- Inequality: How Does the US Compare with the Rest of the World?
- College and Finances
- Education, Skills, Jobs: How We Broke the System
- Do Public Colleges Favor Wealthy Kids?
- Poverty Robs You
- The Cost of Child Poverty
- Growing Up Poor in the South
**image courtesy of Anthony Dodd via Creative Commons