Monday, February 4, 2013

Types of Inequality

There are several types of inequality. Last week I had the chance to eat lunch with a visiting Asian friend and coworker several times. We were talking about inequality and the 99% versus the 1% and he said that in his country the 1% was subject to different laws. In the US everyone is subject to the same laws regardless of status but in his country there is inequality in terms of laws not just wealth or political power. 

He told a story, popular in his country, of the son of a regional governor who was in a car accident where someone was hurt and he simply said his farther was the regional governor and left the scene and was never prosecuted. I would say there is corruption everywhere, but in most western societies it is limited. There is likely more willingness to be a whistle blower because giving quarter to the corrupt is a slippery slope and ultimately the vast majority of people suffer. 

We had and still have inequalities in this country in terms of ethnicity and gender and income, however, it seems that legally, we are all subject to the same restrictions. 

Inequality has a place. If everyone ran the same time and pace for every race distance, what motivation would there be to get better? If everyone was paid exactly the same what would motivate people to be more productive or to go into difficult professions that are currently highly paid, but would always be stressful?

One of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, benefit of the Internet and access to the Internet is that in large part the barriers to access of information are being lowered. For example, if you wanted to know what the Dirty Dozen movie was based on fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t be able to find out without probably dozens of hours of research, but now you can know in minutes what is 99% likely to be true. 

There are many types of inequality, legal, athletic, attention, wealth, income, ACT and SAT scores, and many more. Some may serve as motivation, while others are harmful to many people. How do we wrestle with acceptable inequality and unacceptable inequality? I don't know. I suppose solve one problem at a time. 

1 comment:

  1. It's an unfortunate state of affairs and one that needs to be decisively addressed. There is a serious problem there and it won't be solved by having anyone bury their head in the sand.

    If people think that there is no hope for their situation to get better, they will start to resent those within and outside their community who they feel are doing better than they are. This applies to every community that exists in Colorado.

    Each state in the United States has a certain amount of autonomy and a responsibility to change things for the better for the people who live within the geographical boundaries.


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