Lecture on Inequality
All men are born equal before the law and before God. When an individual or a group of people create situation where their rights supersede that of other individuals or groups, inequality is said to have taken place (Glaeser 2005, p.1). Equality is the foundation upon which democracy and most religions are built. Equality is the basis upon which people develop their sense of morality. It is the fabric that holds our societies together an allow us to coexist in peace and harmony. Inequality on the hand tilts the scales in favor of a selected few. In doing this, it effectively denies the most people access to opportunities and resources to help them develop and improve their lives. However, it should be noted that this is both a good and a bad thing. Inequality is bad as it robs the needy of much needed resources and opportunities to improve their lives. Without adequate empowerment, these people could be able to work their way out of poverty. This would also benefit their overall economies from the increase in output. Inequality stems from poor policies that allow selfish interests to prevail over the allocation of public resources. It should be noted that rights in resource allocation only comes into play when addressing public resources. This is because private entities have discretionary control over the management of their resources.
Inequality is a good thing as it inspires innovation and creativity and has been instrumental in the development of the entrepreneurial spirit (KESSELMAN and GREEN 2006, p.25). Necessity being the mother of invention, the disparities caused by inequality has forced people to turn to ingenuity for their livelihoods. This has resulted in the development of products and services that have revolutionized the way we work and live in unprecedented ways. Through frugal innovations, entrepreneurs have been able to identify untapped potentials in their environments. There are five kinds of inequalities in our societies today. First, political inequality is the result of oppressive regimes and political systems that deny the people the right to choose their leaders. Civil rights and liberties have seen significant growth and development due to increasing democratization and mounting global pressure. There are still some regions in the world where there is blatant disregard for civil rights and impunity. Political equality can be further enhanced by more participation from the public. Second, wealth and income inequalities have been a sore thumb for many countries around the globe. Governments’ main source of revenue is taxation. The people who earn relatively little money are taxed more, leading to a growing gap between the rich and the poor. It should however be noted that the rich create businesses that help the government solve unemployment by creating many employment opportunities. Expecting them to pay high taxes again would be subjecting them to inequality as well and might be counter productive.
Third, there is a great disparity in opportunities for personal and group advancement. Many governments have failed to develop and enforce sound policies to ensure that all their citizens have assured fair access to all available opportunities for their development right from birth. Fourth, there is a high level of inequality in treatment brought about by the intricacies of social development and governance. The establishment of a ruling class and a followers’ class has unwittingly created disparities in treatment with regard to access to social and public amenities and facilities. The powerful always get preferential treatment against the commoners. Last, there is a global inequality of membership as is even evident in the country membership of global bodies such as the G8 and OECD. With the increasing complexities that come with the development of societies, there has been an increasing disparity in membership to schools, clubs, churches, and even neighborhoods.
Glaeser, E. L. (2005). Inequality. Cambridge, Mass, National Bureau of Economic Research.
Kesselman, J. R., & Green, D. A. (2006). Dimensions of inequality in Canada. Vancouver, UBC Press.