Unequal Distribution Of Wealth
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The unequal distribution of wealth has always been a huge problem that has plagued society throughout the ages. As forms of governments of each nation have changed, the unequal distribution of wealth has remained a constant. Even in Communist countries, which were supposed to eliminate this problem by abolishing the private ownership of land, the unequal distribution of wealth was still a problem in their society. It is difficult for society as a whole to make advancements, because of the unequal distribution of wealth. It also creates a gap between the classes in a society, which usually leads to clashing opinions about many important issues. The unequal distribution of wealth also makes the living conditions of the less fortunate undesirable, because the upper class is usually concerned about gaining and maintaining their own wealth first and concerned about others second. It is difficult for the poor to rise above the poverty level, because they are dependent upon what the upper class deems is a fair wage for producing the goods that they make.
Governments implement laws to help with the unequal distribution of wealth, but such laws usually simply mask the actual problem. The laws put into effect by governments are also often only slightly effective in helping with the unequal distribution of wealth, because there are many factors that contribute to the problem. Such factors include education, social standing, position held in work place, living location, and life background. There are several ways to compensate for the factors that cause the unequal distribution of wealth, which include a welfare system, social security, health care, and John Galbraiths idea of giving each family a minimum income that allows them to participate in the economy.
Karl Marx also offers a few novel ideas on how to fix the unequal distribution of wealth, which are found in The Communist Manifesto. Galbraith and Marx both offer simple, effective solutions to correct the fact that unequal distribution of wealth allows the upper class to flourish, while the less fortunate sink fast and remain there.
The unequal distribution of wealth is caused by a wide variety of things that range from where you were raised to the job that you hold. One of the major causes of the unequal distribution of wealth is that since the economy has gone global, it is constantly fluctuating. Robert B. Reich wrote, As Americas core pyramids metamorphosed into global webs, many middle-level routine producers were as obsolete as routine workers on the line(295). Companies constantly lay off middle and lower class employees, because they find people in other countries who are willing to work for less. Such layoffs make it hard for the unskilled workers to find new jobs. The constant change in the global economy doesnt allow for much stability in the job market. Another major factor in the wealth problem is the constant improvement of technology. Marx wrote, Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labor, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character(228). Improved machinery has made workers a simple link in a chain that can be easily replaced.
According to Galbraith, another cause of the unequal distribution of wealth is, Mental deficiency, bad health, inability to adapt to the discipline of industrial life, uncontrollable procreation, alcohol, discrimination involving a very limited minority, some educational handicap unrelated to community shortcoming, or perhaps a combination of these handicaps(251). People who come from poor families are already at a lower disposition than wealthy people, because they cant afford adequate schooling and dont have connections to people in high places in society who could aid them. Galbraith also thought that people could live in poverty because of some factor in their environment, which would cause them to not perform up to ability. He wrote that race, poor educational facilities, and the disintegration of family life were examples of such environmental factors.(253) The problems caused by the unequal distribution of wealth cant be placed upon one single factor.
The unequal distribution of wealth is a major problem that all societies must face. The biggest problem that it creates is a large separation between the upper and lower classes in society. The gap between the two classes is mostly caused by a difference in interests. For example, Marx believed that the upper class is only concerned with increasing its own cash flow, and as a result, Has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers(225). I only partially agree with Marxs idea, because although the upper class is concerned with its own well being, it doesnt necessarily exploit the lower class and make them a mere wage slave. The gap is actually created because the poor want laws to be made that help them maintain what little wealth they have, while the upper class wants to pass laws that will help them gain more wealth.
Marx also believed that the unequal distribution of wealth, Has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation(225). I have the opposing opinion on this matter. People who are in poverty usually have closer family relationships than the upper classes do, because they are more dependent upon one another to survive. The unequal distribution of wealth also makes it difficult for the poor to get out of poverty. The poor normally have inadequate schooling, which makes it difficult for them to get good jobs, and thus climb out of the poverty. Also, when people grow up in a poverty stricken home, they become accustomed to the affects that living in poverty has on them. These people then either dont think that they are in poverty, since it is all that they have known, or simply dont have the means to escape from it because of a lack of a decent education, as earlier noted. Many problems arise due to the unequal distribution of wealth.
There is no one single way to combat the problems that the unequal distribution of wealth creates. Many economists believed that a simple increase in output would bring the poverty level to a minimum. It would create jobs because more people would be needed to hire to increase the production of goods. Galbraith agrees that an increase in output would create jobs and thus allow people to participate in the economy, but adds that there are many cases of poverty that will not be resolved by a simple increase in output. Similarly, Galbraith also believed that, To secure each family a minimum income, as a normal function of the society, would help ensure that the misfortunes of parents, deserved or otherwise, were not visited upon their children(254). This would be the most beneficial remedy for poverty, because it would not only help now, but also provide for a better future.
Better nutrition and health, better education, more and better housing, better mass transport, an environment more conductive to effective social participation,(256) are the things that Galbraith thought were necessary to accompany an increase in input and a minimum income. On the other hand, Karl Marx believed that the unequal distribution of wealth could be compensated for by a heavy progressive tax.(240) He doesnt go on to further explain this point, but I believe that it would only be effective if the money collected from such taxes were used to fund programs that would aid the poor. Marx also believed that the, Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels,(240) would also help battle the unequal distribution of wealth. The seizing of such property would help the poor, because the jobs and land that the emigrants and rebels held could then be given to those living in poverty. The unequal distribution of wealth is caused by several factors, so it cant be simply be solved by one method.
The unequal distribution of wealth is a problem of major concern in todays society. The survival of poverty is remarkable. We ignore it because we share with all societies at all times the capacity for not seeing what we do not wish to see(256). Society allows poverty to exist, because people who arent poverty stricken dont pay much attention to it. Most people are too worried about keeping there own wealth in order to try to help out those who are in poverty. Since people who are in poverty are a minority, it is difficult for them to get people to attempt to help them out. Many factors contribute to the cause of the problems that the unequal distribution of wealth creates. Such factors include the social and educational standings of people and also the technological advances made by society. Marx and Galbraith offer simple solutions, such as progressive taxes and a minimum income for families, which would help to end the unequal distribution of wealth. In any case, the unequal distribution of wealth is an issue that needs to be addressed and solved before the situation escalates.