Economic Inequality

Fairness in the World of Economic Inequality

We often gasp at the amount of wealth various entrepreneurs have amassed. News about economic inequality (sometimes known as income inequality) is quite common lately, and so it should be. Slowly but surely, society’s patience is reaching the breaking point and when that happens, chaos ensues.

It is hard not to be shocked when confronted with the knowledge that the accumulated wealth of 42 individuals (no typo, it really is a two-digit number) is greater than that of the poorest half of the world’s population put together. And then there’s that already outdated statistic about the world’s top 1% owning more than the bottom X% (82% as of 2017 and growing).

Is there a reason to rage when these statistics show up? To many, the answer is an obvious “yes”. Indeed, the disparity is staggering, but fury isn’t usually the right attitude to address a problem. There are many factors that contribute to the present state of affairs and we are directly responsible for some of them. Owning up to this is the first step towards improving things.

As I’ll soon show, there are different kinds of “rich and powerful”. Some of these people are highly beneficial for the progress of our species, while others are destroying lives and wrecking our ecosystem, dragging down society by setting the wrong examples.

The Worship Of Mammon

The Survival Instinct and the Rules of the Human Game

Irrespective of us having free will or not, at least a part of our mind is taking decisions based on a very deeply rooted program. That program is our instinct and, like for all other species, its job is to ensure our survival. Instinct is both necessary and ruthless.

In the same time, we’re living in a society that reaches for higher moral grounds through the evolution of ethics and empathy. Our need for moral progress is probably also an evolutionary trait, ensuring social progress, which is a necessity of our survival as a species. We have gotten this far not only because we are skilled individuals, but also because we’ve found ways to work together through the direst of circumstances. However, the evolution of our society is sometimes in conflict with the instinct of the individual.

Mainstream Entertainment And Objectification

Mainstream Entertainment and Objectification

The digital age has made audio-visual entertainment cheap, easy to obtain and, for an ever-increasing number of people it became one of the main means of counteracting the stress of daily life.

Cinematography and computer games are the undisputed leaders when it comes to this sort of fun. There are a lot of excellent movies and games out there. The opposite is also true and therein lays a problem: entertainment is a highly efficient means of propagating stereotypes and ideologies. Let’s take a look at some of these effects (such as the stereotyping of the human body) and observe how they sometimes end up damaging our society.

Social Contribution Inequality

Social Contribution Inequality

There has been a lot of talk in the past decades about income inequality and for good reason. Various factors contribute to income inequality, such as the political orientation of a country or its economic status. But at the root of unfair reward systems lies a way of thinking that associates people with the immediate economic benefit that they bring to a group. In other words: no long-term strategy.

Such reasoning made more sense in a past when a famine could threaten the survival of an entire culture. Even though we live in quite different times (many countries are approaching post-scarcity economy), our instinct hasn’t quite caught up yet. This is not entirely surprising given how fast we’ve evolved in the past centuries. Our “firmware” hasn’t had enough time to adapt. So, we’re still prone to terribly pragmatic and survivalist decision-making. Social contribution inequality is the result of this style of thinking. It is the poor rewarding of some members of society because others do not immediately see them as being profitable.

The Intellectual Diet

The Intellectual Diet

Just like the body is what it eats, the mind is what it experiences. This is a truth with vast and grave implications when it comes to the types of entertainment we invest our time in. Entertainment is a highly efficient social programming tool because when entertained the mind is open and relaxed. While in this state, it is easier for toxic messages to escape our scrutiny and infiltrate our thoughts.

A simple example about how entertainment has negatively affected our society is the impressive range of stereotypes it helped create. We need to look no further than the objectification of both women and men. The silent enforcement of ideal body types starts as early as the first cartoons kids watch and continues throughout the adult life, slowly dripping into our minds from movies to magazine covers and commercials.