Is Income Inequality Really a Myth?

By Jung Min Roh

Income Inequality is a prominent dispute rising around the world due to the controversial argument to whether it is a myth or not. Although there may be opportunities for several to pull themselves out of poverty, the fact that not everyone has such a blessed opportunity proves the existence of income inequality. Poverty has been perceived by many as an “inescapable hell” bounded by economic inequality, but, are the poor being deprived? Are they earnestly trying to escape? Or, is it just impossible at times to escape? A common belief shared by poverty sufferers argues that income inequality has been keeping them from improving their working class and has inflicted a more significant social difference within society. This statement should not be recognized as a belief, but a fact that requires greater awareness around the world due to the growing significance that is being undermined. Despite all efforts in eradicating income inequality, the world as a whole has suffered, and will continue to suffer from the dreaded and eternal reality of income inequality.

Screen Shot 2019-05-10 at 10.57.51 AMIncome inequality has existed in prior human history and continues to do so despite the innovative society we endure under today. Income inequality corresponds to the exponentially growing graph on the left because the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer. The rich and privileged persistently regard income inequality as irrelevant as they have not directly endured the suffering of being helpless. They believe that the poor are those filled with hopelessness and jealousy who are too lazy to earn their bread. The amount to which our society has progressed is depicted in this graph by projections of human histories life expectancy, GDP, the rate of people living under extreme poverty, energy capture, war-making capacity, and rate of people living in a democracy in the graph above.

Following the industrial revolution, the graph quantitates six essential human livelihood factors seeing a tremendous increase. This sudden surge supports that human society was revolutionized and reformed into a harbor in which “rich” people could enter and live under satisfactory conditions. However, this harbor would not be accessible for all. Some may have been born into a low-income family, some born with mental illness or some born into prejudiced communities. Nevertheless, their life predicament had been unfortunate in ways that prohibited people from being capable of being the breadwinners of their families. They had been born into ways whether lacking money for education or with a learning disability that made it near impossible for any success in their futures careers. These people had started their lives in a race of success to which everyone else had the luxury and luck of beginning at the halfway point, forcing their life journeys twice as excruciating.  

The table below plots the American population divided into fifths by wealth. The government had taxed the richest fifth at a rate of 26.7% from their annual income amounting to a large sum of seventy-five thousand dollars per person. This cumulated taxation had been funded mainly towards the poorest two-fifths of the population with the second fifth receiving six thousand dollars from government transfers, and an additional twelve thousand dollars for the poorest fifth. This external funding proves that the two groups had not indeed been taxed but instead received aid from the government. After reviewing this data, it is apparent that the government has not succeeded in their hopes to redistribute wealth and make life endurable for the less privileged. Although there had been efforts taken, there is still the continued existence of the immense difference in gross income between the richest and poorest fifth. When looking at the ultimate result, the change that the government had made is minuscule, futile, and meaningless.

Screen Shot 2019-05-10 at 10.58.08 AMPoverty should be seen as an inextinguishable flame that can only be nurtured and prevented from growing as it devours its surroundings as a fire would to oxygen. However, this flame had been reduced from a raging bonfire. The perpetual aims of reducing the fire relate to the progressively decreasing rate of poverty.

Despite considerable effort given, several nations were unable to nurture this fire successfully. On the other hand, this fire had been disciplined, cultivated, and diminished by other nations into a speck of flame which can be depicted by flourishment in a country’s economy, politics, and technology.

This excellent ability to develop and cultivate should be thoroughly examined by governments who had been unable to nurture their erratic flames effectively. If they can reproduce a flame with precision and care, then one day a large cloud will arise over all existing flame and extinguish everything, leaving the hard worked nations with nothing but the deserved rainbow after a storm.

With evidence of humankind’s innovative nature, it is clear that those on top will only continue to surge while those on the bottom will plunge. Income inequality exists solely due to humanity’s lack of awareness and effort to aid those in need. Therefore, when approaching income inequality, “we must work together to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth, opportunity, and power in our society.”

 

Works Cited:

  1. CNBC. “Global Poverty Rate Drops to Record Low 10%: World Bank.” CNBC, CNBC, 19 Sept. 2018, www.cnbc.com/2018/09/19/world-bank-global-poverty-rate-drops-to-record-low.html.
  2. Habib, Bilal. “The Distribution of Household Income, 2014.” Congressional Budget Office, CBO, Mar. 2018, www.cbo.gov/publication/53597.
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  4. Keely, Brian. “Income Inequality: The Gap between Rich and Poor.” OECD, OECD-Library, 2015, www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/9789264246010-6-en.pdf?expires=1555421883&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=6EBD7ECB672B0713760A4FCE637A921E.
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  6. Mandela, Nelson. “Quotes.” Inequality.org, 2014, inequality.org/resources/quotes/.
  7. Rahn, Richard W. “Growing Income Inequality Is a Myth.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/NYYABK513995678/OVIC?u=60iskl&sid=OVIC&xid=c6e47876. Accessed 16 Apr. 2019. Originally published as “The myth of growing income inequality,” Washington Times, 20 Nov. 2017.