Free Wealth And Poverty: Inequality Essay Sample
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Inequality, Social Issues, Wellness, Society, America, United States, Sociology, Mobility
One of the most intense and complex issues in any society (particularly a capitalist society) is the issue of inequality – the idea that certain groups of people have more advantages than others. In the case of economic inequality, this deals with income and wealth, as there is a decided divide between the rich and poor. As the 21st century continues, however, this level of income inequality has expanded greatly, with the middle class disappearing and the 1% acquiring the vast majority of the world’s wealth. These issues must be addressed if a more egalitarian, fair society is to be created. Inequality as a concept is highly important, especially in this day and age, as economic stratification has led to the suffering of the poor and the continued decadence of the rich.
Inequality, especially the kind that is so socially entrenched and immovable as it is today, violates the essential nature of the American Dream. Surowiecki discusses the notion of social mobility – the concept that hard work and dedication will allow people to achieve success in American society (1). In a perfect American world, everyone has an equal chance to achieve this success, with the only metrics used to determine success and failure being the ability to hard work and seize opportunities. However, with inequality, not everyone has an equal playing field – the rich have distinct privilege due to their wealthy status, as their children have greater resources and education right away than families with less financial stability. Issues of race and gender also play into this, as discrimination can prevent the rich from offering gateways to success to those who are not already in the in-group (namely, wealthy white men). To that end, inequality violates the notion of social mobility and defies the notion that anyone in America can make it if they deserve to.
It must be said that at least some inequality is necessary for a capitalist society to thrive, as someone must inevitably be part of the less lucrative classes of society. However, the issue with inequality is that society must decided how much inequality is too much – as the wealth gap between the upper and lower classes continues to spread, more and more people are not given the ability to afford their own survival and their families, and are not given the same level of power within the society as the rich. The vicious cycle of poverty prevents social mobility from occurring, as the lower classes is getting gradually poorer and being prevented from stopping this inexorable march toward destitution (Wolf, 2014).
In essence, the issue of inequality in America is important because the current way our system works favors the rich to a virtually criminal extent, preventing people in the lower and middle classes to achieve the kind of social mobility promised by the American Dream. Given the social safety nets provided to the rich (Super PACs, lobbyists, bailouts, executive bonuses), the rich can maintain their own interests in perpetuity, while gradually leaving less and less for the poor. This makes them less able to actually overcome the extreme economic barriers with which they are faced, thus keeping them in the lower classes for years to come. Unless efforts are made to address inequality in America, this class gap will continue apace, leading to some dramatic consequences in the long run.
Surowiecki, James. “The Mobility Myth.” The New Yorker. March 3, 2014.
Wolf, Martin. “Why inequality is such a drag on economies.” Financial Times. September 30,