Thoughts on (economic) Inequality
So sorry to start off the year with a whinge, BUT, lately there’s something about inequality that ‘sticks in my craw’.
Is inequality getting worse? Or am I imagining it?
Facts tell us that (world-wide) the rich are getting richer.
According to Oxfam, the world’s EIGHT richest people possess the same amount of $$$ as the poorest HALF of the world!
Hard to comprehend?
I recently came across a book, “Battlers & Billionaires, The story of inequality in Australia”, written by Dr Andrew Leigh (an Australian politician and former professor of economics at the Australian National University).
In this book he gives insights into inequalities of national significance.
I found this particular observation from Dr Leigh astounding:
‘…imagine a ladder on which each rung represents a million dollars of wealth. Now imagine Australian population spread out along this ladder, with distance from the ground reflecting household wealth.
On this ladder, most of us are just a few centimetres off the ground. Half of all households are closer to the ground than they are to the first rung. The typical Australian household has a wealth of about half a million dollars, placing it halfway to the first rung. A household in the top 10 percent is one and a half rungs up, at about knee height.
A household in the top 1 percent is five rungs up, about neck level.
The mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is nearly ten kilometres off the ground’
This is an example of extreme inequality! And I have to wonder, how much hard work did this person do to ‘earn’ such wealth?
Re-read it, because its extraordinariness can make it difficult to comprehend.
Admittedly there are not many as grotesquely wealthy as Gina Rinehart, but as I continue to read this book, my attitude to inequality only deepens and I wonder what is happening in today’s world where money is king - but only available to those already advantaged.
Whatever happened to sharing?
The Australian government’s newest ‘shouted out’ tax cuts, that are supposedly to help ALL of us, result in giving 62% of benefits to the TOP 20% ‘earners’ and approximately only 1% to the bottom ‘earners’.
Looks like inequality to me!
Remembering that lower earning workers always SPEND all their money (pay) as a case of necessity, whereas the top earners can either stockpile (save) their benefits or indulge in ‘impulse buying’ – an activity generally denied the lower earners. To give lower earners more disposable cash seems like a helpful aid to the economy. But perhaps I’m being naïve – ignorant, even.
Whatever is happening when the ordinary person who works hard at his or her job is bypassed by those who only consider rewarding themselves or their likewise big league mates?
I fear for a country (world, even) that will be divided in two; the HAVES and the have-nots; an unfairness, where selfishness and the worship of money risks eliminating all decency and empathy.
The ‘Lucky Country’ indeed.
‘A nation will not survive, morally or economically, when so few have so much, while so many have so little’
Leave a Reply.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.