- Over the last couple of decades, those at the top 20% of the U.S income bracket have consistently brought in the majority of the nation’s income
- Income inequality in the U.S is the highest out of all of the other G-7 countries
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an ‘excessive’ degree of income inequality is catastrophic for a society’s cultural structures and social cohesion. This is because- regardless of any element of luck, effort or talent involved, a high degree of inequality can undoubtedly: lead to a prolific amount of political polarization, significantly erode any social cohesion, and significantly affect a country’s projected GDP growth.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) commented on this pressing issue, detailing the fact that just 1% of the world’s current population owns over 33% of all privately owned wealth- a figure which surpasses what the bottom 95% of the population owns combined.
In fact, the world’s eight richest individuals- which are all male, have equal wealth to that owned by over 3.5 billion of the world’s most poor population. Despite the fact that the world is likely to see their first trillionaire in the next couple of decades, over 10% of persons still go to bed hungry at least once a day. Despite the rather obvious issue at hand, the solution is not as straightforward as it may seem. It involves both: a prolific amount of expertise in relation to the employment sector and economics of a society, and an innovative mindset capable of tackling the aforementioned issue from a holistic standpoint.
Eminent actor and prolific activist Kel King has recently given his take on the proliferation of income inequality in recent years and offered inspiring solutions in light of the unprecedented post-pandemic economy.
Striving for Equality in a Post-pandemic Economy
A study conducted by Oxfam discovered that some of the world’s most prolific billionaires had collectively seen their accumulated wealth increase by over $500 billion over the period of the pandemic.
As Kel King points out, such an astounding increase is not only detrimental towards income equality- given the holistic and consistent decrease in income for the vast majority of persons during the pandemic, but it is also significantly more than enough to pay for a universal Covid-19 vaccine- currently estimated at roughly $140 billion.
Furthermore, King details the racial element that should be considered. The pandemic has disproportionately affected persons of colour- both in relation to their health and in relation to their income. For example (and in accordance with the Kaiser Family Foundation), even though non-white racial groups are at a significantly higher risk of developing life-threatening symptoms after contracting the Covid-19 virus, they are not receiving more vaccine shots- with black infection (and even death) rates being significantly higher than the rates of vaccination.
Moreover, Kel King has commented on the troubling fact that the black community has additionally been disproportionately affected in relation to their employment. According to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, black workers were significantly more likely to be among the employees which found themselves jobless as a result of the pandemic.
This was despite them encapsulating a disproportionate share of the workers deemed to be ‘essential’ to the economy at such a time and thus may serve as an illustration of the visceral nature of the racial inequality in today’s economy.
‘Epidemics tend to mirror societies, not the other way around. Consequently, the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic has- in my opinion, undoubtedly revealed troubling aspects of the highly unjust and unequal economy that we live in.’- Kel King.
Final Take: Potential Solutions
Unsurprisingly, not only Kel King but many celebrities around the world stepped up and used their voices as prolific actors to offer a couple of possible solutions to the aforementioned growing societal problem.
Such solutions- which are in line with those offered by the WEF, include: a) increasing progressive taxation- so as to attempt to directly breach the gap in income, b) increase education-related investment so as to allow the less economically-fortunate individuals of our society to bypass some of the many barriers which are currently prohibiting them from succeeding, and c) implement a new social protection contract in employment law- tackling some of the extensive issues detailed above and adopting a much more ‘holistic’ style of protection for all workers.
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