Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Inequality Really is That Bad

Focusing on Chris Tilly's "Why Inequality is Bad for the Economy" and OXFAM's "The Cost of Inequality"

Tilly's piece is a short online article which guides the audience - presumed to be the average person of working status (working class, middle class, poor) - a quick and dirty glance at what economic inequality actually affects in society. He offers reasons behind who desires inequality, what socioeconomic inequality does for the non-rich, and why this is a good thing for "conservative politicians and economics". He explores the ways in which equality is not only shut down in conversation, but also how it is shaped as being counter-intuitive and counter productive to the masses as a whole. He supports these claims with evidence from studies done, statistics gathered, historical and international events, and through examining the effects of certain governmental programs and where they were aimed.

What he finds is that what we refer to as trickle down economics doesn't work. What does work to improve socioeconomic inequalities, and thus the sociocultural structures of said society, is the aid of governmental forces which help to distribute wealth more evenly. Tilly proposes a sort of separation between folks along ethnic, class, education, and racial lines, as these separations support a statistical sense of unity. He claims this as the "match effect" stating that "more ethnically homogeneous countries and regions grow faster [economically] - presumably because there are fewer ethnically based inequalities". I took this as meaning that when we put a group of folks that have job ore lived experience together in an area, there will be more in common between them than if we were to put mixed classes and experiences together in the same space. More growth will come from the former than the latter. In order to create a truly growth-oriented pattern of development, we must take an active step towards maintenance of the socioeconomic structure in terms of who receives what tax cuts, which government policies, etc. Instead, he have inequality because there is a focus on maintaining the status quo - very much related to individualism - by the upper classes.

Oxfam throws some stats around which displays not the poorest of situations, but the richest. This article covers briefly the extreme wealth which has led to a widening gap between the very poor and the extremely rich. This gap has already begun to create civil unrest, the very thing that the IMF was afraid of, according to Oxfam. This progression of the gap and the rise in extreme wealth - because it is still growing as of January 2013 - only serves to damage the economic environment even more and create a threat to true democracy - which is what we see when we understand the adage "money is power" (Oxfam). The investment in private enterprises by the wealthy also adds to this concept of public economy not being worth the time - as Tilly inferred in his article. Actually a lot of points that are brought up in Tilly's piece are also brought up in Oxfam's paper as well. Together, these pieces create a fuller image of wealth in America and the problems that expose the inequality based on economic.

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