Does inequality matter?

Do you think inequality matters for a nation?

  • Yes, the government should take care of it.

    Votes: 12 63.2%
  • No, it does not matter or it is out of the sphere of state intervention.

    Votes: 7 36.8%

  • Total voters
    19
Oct 2010
291
Paomia, Corsica
Any political debate these days are likely to elude more or less directly to the issue of economic inequality. The bankers are paid too much, the government redistributes the wealth, there is not enough investment in education, etc. All these issues have at their core the question of inequality.

Inequality is even now considered as a measure of development and through the GINI coefficient, countries are even rated by levels of inequality.

But when asked directly, do you think that inequality matter?

On the one hand, relative wealth should not really matter. Whether your neighbour drives a Ferrari or not is irrelevant to you, your only concern should be whether or not you have enough money to feed and educate your children, and that every one also does.

On the other hand, the massive concerns evoked above show that people do care very much about inequality. Why is that?

Is it just that we are dissatisfied and jealous as a species or are there more logical arguments behind our general worry for inequality?
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,740
Athens, Greece
Yes, inequality absolutely matters.

I agree that if everyone was offered a decent life, it would have been inconsequential that a few enjoyed a far more wealthier one. However, this is almost never the case in reality. The world is a vastly unequal place, and even if inequality has a limited real life impact in countries with a very high living standard, this is very rare. In most cases, inequality means a large portion of the population is forced to live in poverty and deprivation, while a smaller percentage enjoys great luxury.
Besides, inequality exists not only among citizens of a given country, but also in the frame of a universal community. Inequality is exported and imported, as a result of the intensification of economic globalisation.

In many cases, for one to become richer, some have to become poorer. In that sense, inequality is a direct result of exploitation; a characteristic of humanity throughout its history, and a great motivator of cataclysmic events.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,417
Welsh Marches
Excessive inequality does matter, I think, and Western governments do attempt on the whole to restrict it, with varying degrees of success.
 
Sep 2011
24,135
------------
Yes, inequality absolutely matters.

I agree that if everyone was offered a decent life, it would have been inconsequential that a few enjoyed a far more wealthier one. However, this is almost never the case in reality. The world is a vastly unequal place, and even if inequality has a limited real life impact in countries with a very high living standard, this is very rare. In most cases, inequality means a large portion of the population is forced to live in poverty and deprivation, while a smaller percentage enjoys great luxury.
Besides, inequality exists not only among citizens of a given country, but also in the frame of a universal community. Inequality is exported and imported, as a result of the intensification of economic globalisation.

In many cases, for one to become richer, some have to become poorer. In that sense, inequality is a direct result of exploitation; a characteristic of humanity throughout its history, and a great motivator of cataclysmic events.
You make some good points there, but I have to disagree also.

Of course, I think inequality is wrong to some degree, but it completely depends on the context, because we can run head first into a communist mind set if we start believeing every person should be the same, have the same etc... which is counter productive and defeats the entire object at hand imo.

Inequality is bad in the sense of men being paid more than women for doing the exact same job, or in a discriminatory way.

But people are always going to be more or less successful then the next person, there will always be winners in a race and losers in a race - or do we have to say we have all won the race even when only one did simply to bring less inequality to the table?
 
May 2011
516
Leon, Spain
Yes, inequality absolutely matters.

I agree that if everyone was offered a decent life, it would have been inconsequential that a few enjoyed a far more wealthier one. However, this is almost never the case in reality. The world is a vastly unequal place, and even if inequality has a limited real life impact in countries with a very high living standard, this is very rare. In most cases, inequality means a large portion of the population is forced to live in poverty and deprivation, while a smaller percentage enjoys great luxury.
Besides, inequality exists not only among citizens of a given country, but also in the frame of a universal community. Inequality is exported and imported, as a result of the intensification of economic globalisation.

In many cases, for one to become richer, some have to become poorer. In that sense, inequality is a direct result of exploitation; a characteristic of humanity throughout its history, and a great motivator of cataclysmic events.
I agree 100% and would as a leftist like to see the west do more for the east, and see things such as wage caps introduced to obsessive amounts. Howver I also belive as roughly a democratic-socialist that small levels of inequality are essential to social function with a bridge between the two.

For example here in Spain, there is a higher-level education problem, as there are far too many educated people, and as a result the manufacturing sectors fail heavily (Or so is my belief), and vast amounts of money is wasted on education (I would be the only leftist to support Rajoy's education initiatives actually, since whilst it makes UNI more expensive, it adresses funtamental problems in Iberian society as a whole). If I understood a news report properly (Which I may not have, seeing that Spanish isn't my first language) they said Spain has more people than Germany with Masters or higher level qualifications, yet of course germany has twice the population! At the core of this problem however, exists a fundamentally social balance issue that must be addressed. Studying in high school here makes me feel bad for these people, because in my home country of Australia we study less, but because of better social adjustment, there is much less competition, and a flowing pluralist society, as opposed to that of Southern Europe
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,740
Athens, Greece
You make some good points there, but I have to disagree also.

Of course, I think inequality is wrong to some degree, but it completely depends on the context, because we can run head first into a communist mind set if we start believeing every person should be the same, have the same etc... which is counter productive and defeats the entire object at hand imo.

Inequality is bad in the sense of men being paid more than women for doing the exact same job, or in a discriminatory way.

But people are always going to be more or less successful then the next person, there will always be winners in a race and losers in a race - or do we have to say we have all won the race even when only one did simply to bring less inequality to the table?
The point is Bri, there shouldn't have been a race in the first place. Humanity has reached a point, by taming the natural world and having acquired the scientific means to support itself wholly, that there should have been no hunger, petty diseases killing people, lack of access to clean water, free medical and social care, free education, a home and a job for every living human creature. The fact that this utopia does not exist is just the result of over-concentration of resources and wealth in very few hands and an inequality of distribution.

I'm not talking about 'each man is entitled to his private yacht'; that would be silly, such inequality is acceptable, and can serve as an incentive and a reward for additional efforts and merits. But the vast majority of human deprivation is not deserved, and it is not the result of a just offer/effort - merit/reward mechanism.
 
Sep 2011
24,135
------------
The point is Bri, there shouldn't have been a race in the first place. Humanity has reached a point, by taming the natural world and having acquired the scientific means to support itself wholly, that there should have been no hunger, petty diseases killing people, lack of access to clean water, free medical and social care, free education, a home and a job for every living human creature. The fact that this utopia does not exist is just the result of over-concentration of resources and wealth in very few hands and an inequality of distribution.

I'm not talking about 'each man is entitled to his private yacht'; that would be silly, such inequality is acceptable, and can serve as an incentive and a reward for additional efforts and merits. But the vast majority of human deprivation is not deserved, and it is not the result of a just offer/effort - merit/reward mechanism.
I understand your point and I agree with you to a degree.

I will reply tomorrow though because I am tired and my posts become far worse than normal when I am sleepy. :)
 

tjadams

Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
25,362
Texas
I see the notion of inequality as a matter of work.
As Solidaire wrote, it would be nice to have resources available to all, but, someone has to pay
the bill. If a person abides by good social law: of going to school, getting a higher education,
putting in the time at a job, catch a few breaks and reap a reward from their hard work, then
they are entitled to it. Other hand, if a person who wants to sleep late everyday, drop out of school,
cannot commit to anything long term and cannot hold a job, should they be afforded the same
luxuries that the working person paid? If yes, then no one would take the harder path of life
and just wait to be given life's treats without putting something back into the system.