There can be no doubt that, in this world, there are gross injustices in the way wealth is distributed. There is a factor of millions between the billionaire living in California and the subsistence farmer in Africa trying to support her family on a dollar a day. In this article I am presenting the case for a world in which there is a fairer distribution of wealth both domestically and internationally.
Absolute income or wealth equality may not be possible to achieve and is probably not desirable. But I am concerned that in most countries around the world, the gap between rich and poor is getting wider, and no-one knows when it will stop. Ultimately, the wealth of the whole world could be in the hands of a single person!
A better world
Do you, like me, long to see a world where:
- Everyone receives the full benefit and fruits of their labour.
- Those who are disadvantaged due to illness, incapacity, age etc., receive adequate care from the state, or society as a whole.
- There is an incentive to work hard, or take risks, but the rewards are not out of proportion.
- People who are in positions of financial or political power cannot abuse that power to protect their expanded life-styles.
- All have the same opportunities regardless of family, race, culture or religion.
Natural Causes of Inequality
Most inequality is man-made. But there are natural causes as well which make absolute equality impossible to achieve without reducing all to the lowest common denominator.
- Differing physical, mental or emotional abilities
- State of health
- Suitability of land for growing crops
- Random events or luck
- Different priorities
Man-made Causes of Inequality
- Racial discrimination
- Gender discrimination
- Regressive taxation
- Tax avoidance by rich individuals and corporations
- Class or caste discrimination
- Various forms of modern slavery
- Oppression by the powerful
- Uninhibited capitalism
- Government policies favouring the rich
- Warfare to control wealth or ‘national interests’
- Unfair treatment of the producers of food and product by the global system
- The lack of accountability of international companies to any government
In all countries and communities the elite control the wealth, make and administer the laws and have a vested interest in accumulating riches by exploiting the poor and maintaining poverty. Oppression is sometimes selfish and malicious in nature. Alternatively the elite may feel superior, and genuinely consider that they ‘deserve’ a better life-style, and that others are poor through their own failings.
Capitalism, Democracy and Justice
Capitalism is probably the best system mankind has come up with to develop society and benefit us all. But a divide between the rich and poor is inherent in the system. The extremes and abuses of capitalism must be curbed if we are to prevent poverty and suffering on an immense scale.
Democracy, although not perfect, offers some hope that the majority of less well off people ought to be able to pass laws and develop communities which seek to correct and contain the exploitation of poverty. But the power of the rich is not just political, it is economic and very clever. If we live in a democracy we need to elect a government who looks after the ordinary people and not the elite, rich and powerful.
Justice demands a better deal for the billions whose lives are plagued by poverty. We have just laws which prevent criminals stealing from us. We desperately need a justice system which protects us all from those who would seek to keep us poor by power, abuse and exploitation and become rich at our expense.
- Gini Graham Scott: The New Middle Ages (huffingtonpost.com)
- Richest 300 Persons on Earth Have More Money Than Poorest 3 Billion (dprogram.net)
- Wealth Inequality in UK Now Equal to Nigeria, UN Report (welfaretales.wordpress.com)