Income Inequality: Let's talk about it
Updated: Dec 27, 2022
The dictionary defines income inequality as the significant disparity in the distribution of income between individuals, groups, classes, and or others. But more importantly, Income inequality is a global phenomenon that has yet to be tackled. In recent years, income disparities have become so severe that the USA's richest 10% have an income 9 times that of the bottom 90% combined. As billionaires are created, the quality of life for the middle and lower class slowly depreciates, however, people are often slow to notice how the insanely rich have power to manipulate the global political economy. By the end of 2021, the richest 1% in the United States owned 32% of the nation’s wealth. In this age of global plutocracy, talking about income inequality has become increasingly uncomfortable, even for those who are not part of the top 1%. Those who are happy and wealthy find conversations about income distribution and redistribution threatening. Once you rise and have great economic power at the top of the income distribution, it's hard to willingly give some of it up.
Technological change and globalisation are often the base causes for driving Income inequality. For example, in Business management we learnt that “offshoring” is when tasks are relocated from richer to poorer countries, where the cost of labour is cheap as the work is not skill-intensive. However, it is only skill-weak from the point of view of the rich country, where quality of life is better. This directly opposes the point of view of the skill-weak country. As a indirect consequence, the labour demand becomes more skill intensive in both first and third world countries, furthering the income disparities.
Growing up in Singapore has made me very aware of income disparities. The community of Singapore ranges from Crazy Rich Asians to domestic workers and hawker stall owners. The biggest solution to tackling Income inequality is making the topic more widespread, so we can start making decisions for change. On a surface level, income inequality can be reduced by directly decreasing the incomes of the richest, through taxation and other policies, and increasing the incomes and opportunities of the poorest by increasing employment rate, wages, or donations. However, to address the problem at its roots, we need to raise awareness among the community and advocate examples for how we can begin to address income inequality at the grassroots level. For example, encourage peers to support small local businesses and provide aid to those in need. Finally, we need to motivate each other to do our own research on the issue, support the exchange of ideas and habits, and promote the fair sharing of resources on how we could tackle this issue.
Is it possible to reduce income inequality while simultaneously boosting economic growth? I believe that it is. It takes a mixture of fighting discrimination and implementing policies regarding politics, the market, and education. With these small steps, we can begin creating good for 100% of the population.