Inequality of Wealth
The inequality of wealth and income throughout the globe is seen as one of the largest factors of national polarization and international disruption. This is the reason why the United Nations marks October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a day which aims to raise awareness about and create tangible solutions to end poverty for good. While much work has been done to combat inequalities between countries—which has been lowering—there remains a lot to do in terms of the gaps within countries. According to the World Inequality Database’s 2022 report, for any country, the gap between the average incomes of its bottom 50% and the top 10% has nearly doubled in the last two decades.
THE BIG PICTURE OF INEQUALITY
Aspects contributing to wealth and income inequality include race, gender, education, size and type of family, and disability status. While many of these elements intertwining together give rise to inequality, the fundamental factor lies in economic performance, which directly hinders specific demographics of individuals from succeeding. When that combined with the coronavirus pandemic, a global recession occurred, resulting in a worsened economy, which significantly impacted underprivileged people. The International Monetary Foundation (IMF) even spells out that the pandemic has "made the poor poorer and the rich richer.”
Although many countries have begun raising wages, the adjustment is still inadequate in closing the gap between income and actual living costs. In an article from the World Economic Forum, a Unilever executive emphasized that living wages, which are calculated based on what it takes to afford decent living standards, must be given to even the employees at the lowest level. The tax systems can also be reworked to become more redistributive. This is because some developed countries have systems that benefit corporations and the elites by leaving open many gaps and loopholes for exploitation, leading to widening inequality. The solution lies in a system that ensures wealthy individuals and businesses pay their fair share of taxes while lower-income individuals receive more subsidiaries.
Inequality of wealth and income is an issue that plagues many individuals, whether in developed or underdeveloped countries. Although specific socio-economic demographics are deemed at higher risk, this issue should be on everyone’s minds—a more equitable economy is a more productive economy, one that benefits all.
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