Inequality is inevitable Watch

missyoung84
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Is it?

Is it the fault of past and present governments of the UK that the inequality gap (particularly socio-economic and health inequalities) is stark and rising? For example 'The rise in inequality during the Tony Blair years was rapid. As Blair came to power, the best-off one-thousandth (0.1 per cent) of the population received an income 61 times what the 90 per cent at the bottom received; by 2007 this ratio had risen to 95 times.'

Is this due to government policy, or is it particular outside forces or stratification to blame?

Why are some people in favour of, and in fact celebrate, inequality? David Davis for example 'inequalities are widened by people getting richer, not the poor getting poorer - but by the rich getting richer. And frankly, so long as they generate wealth for the economy, so long as they generate tax income and so on, then I'm comfortable with it.'

Is this even true? Not according to projections by the Resolution Foundation 'Over the 2008 to 2020 period as a whole, the modelling suggests a decline in real terms income of around 5 percent for low to middle income households and around 19 percent for households reliant on benefits. Only higher income households—those above middle income—see income growth, of around two per cent over the period.'

I'm reading an increasing number of reports which agree with The Spirit Level authors that 'wellbeing and happiness hasn't just ceased to rise with economic growth in affluent countries, as they have grown richer rates of problems which include anxiety and depression have seen a long-term increase'


Economic growth doesn't appear to be the answer anymore.

Is inequality as we know it, as we see it expanding, inevitable?
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Aspiringlawstudent
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The wealth divide is (broadly speaking) just an intelligence and/or production divide.

I'm not talking about the super rich, or celebrities. But for the vast majority of the population, differences in income are generally explained quite handily by (in the case of intelligence natural and largely intractable) variations in intelligence and propensity to produce.

I certainly don't think inequality (of outcome - I am of course for equality under the law) is a bad thing. If anything, it is the embodiment of meritocracy. When one comes by their money honestly (that is to say they did not steal it, defraud anyone etc) they have made it by serving people in some regard - including inheritance, as this is merely the honest money made by another passed honestly as a gift.

People should, in my opinion, stop focussing on the difference between the rich and the poor, and more on the absolute condition of the poor. Relative poverty does not concern me in the least. I'm far more likely to care about whether people have a roof over their head and food in their belly than whether or not they drive a 20 year old car or have an eight year old cell-phone.
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Emaemmaemily
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I certainly disagree with the poster above myself.
The income gap cannot be explained simply because of differences in intelligence. This is shown quite clearly in the fact that those born into working class families are far more likely to stay working class, rather than to progress and create a better life for themselves.
This isn't because of lack of intelligence, but because of the many different factors in our society that make it harder for someone from a working class background to get into a higher paid job. To begin with, their parents more often than not set bad examples and encourage them to have the wrong attitude to work/ authority from an early age. This makes them far less likely to work hard and/or succeed in school, and therefore less likely to have the ability to get into the kind of university courses needed to earn a higher wage.
There is also the problem of their parents not being able to provide them with the same opportunities as those born into wealthier families, because of the lack of money. They can't afford to buy them decent clothes, or the right equipment for school, or to allow them to continue education after the compulsory age.
There is now financial help for those in poorer backgrounds when it comes to uni, which is brilliant. But there is no financial aid (or certainly not enough at all) for postgraduate courses. Most of the higher paid jobs require postgraduate study, and/or internships; neither of these can be done by someone from a working class background, as their parents can't afford to pay for them to live while they work "for free" to get into their required field.

I could give more examples, but unfortunately I have to leave for work. I'm not suggesting that no working class people succeed, or that this is a rule for everyone, it is just a current trend in our country at the moment. There is not enough social mobility, and this is certainly not down to people in working class families being less intelligent.

There will always be some inequalities, because there ARE differences in ability, intelligence and alike naturally within individuals; the main point is that this natural difference is far less than the current social gaps we see across our society. The gaps are far bigger, and the wealth is kept within the same group of people far too often.
I'm also not suggesting that anyone who comes from middle/upper class families do not work hard to succeed, of course they do, and they deserve their success if they work for it. But society is currently tailored so that they have a far better chance of succeeding with their hard work than those from worse off families.
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Aspiringlawstudent
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(Original post by Emaemmaemily)
I certainly disagree with the poster above myself.
The income gap cannot be explained simply because of differences in intelligence. This is shown quite clearly in the fact that those born into working class families are far more likely to stay working class, rather than to progress and create a better life for themselves.
This isn't because of lack of intelligence, but because of the many different factors in our society that make it harder for someone from a working class background to get into a higher paid job. To begin with, their parents more often than not set bad examples and encourage them to have the wrong attitude to work/ authority from an early age. This makes them far less likely to work hard and/or succeed in school, and therefore less likely to have the ability to get into the kind of university courses needed to earn a higher wage.
There is also the problem of their parents not being able to provide them with the same opportunities as those born into wealthier families, because of the lack of money. They can't afford to buy them decent clothes, or the right equipment for school, or to allow them to continue education after the compulsory age.
There is now financial help for those in poorer backgrounds when it comes to uni, which is brilliant. But there is no financial aid (or certainly not enough at all) for postgraduate courses. Most of the higher paid jobs require postgraduate study, and/or internships; neither of these can be done by someone from a working class background, as their parents can't afford to pay for them to live while they work "for free" to get into their required field.

I could give more examples, but unfortunately I have to leave for work. I'm not suggesting that no working class people succeed, or that this is a rule for everyone, it is just a current trend in our country at the moment. There is not enough social mobility, and this is certainly not down to people in working class families being less intelligent.

There will always be some inequalities, because there ARE differences in ability, intelligence and alike naturally within individuals; the main point is that this natural difference is far less than the current social gaps we see across our society. The gaps are far bigger, and the wealth is kept within the same group of people far too often.
I'm also not suggesting that anyone who comes from middle/upper class families do not work hard to succeed, of course they do, and they deserve their success if they work for it. But society is currently tailored so that they have a far better chance of succeeding with their hard work than those from worse off families.
Is it not arguable that the reason people born into poor backgrounds stay poor (which empirically you have not established) because of their lower levels of cognitive ability and production, intelligence being highly heritable?

You suggest a lack of resources is to blame - but my argument is that this lack of resources is the result of lower levels of intelligence and production.

Furthermore, do you have empirical proof to suggest that you can educate iron into gold, so to speak?
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Emaemmaemily
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(Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
Is it not arguable that the reason people born into poor backgrounds stay poor (which empirically you have not established) because of their lower levels of cognitive ability and production, intelligence being highly heritable?

You suggest a lack of resources is to blame - but my argument is that this lack of resources is the result of lower levels of intelligence and production.

Furthermore, do you have empirical proof to suggest that you can educate iron into gold, so to speak?
Where is your proof for such claims though?
All of my points are those that are generally agreed upon (to varying degrees, obviously) throughout sociological expert opinions, and fairly well known as such. If you need links to some of those, let me know though.

You're basically saying everyone who is working class is stupid? That's ridiculous. There ARE those that beat the odds they are against and make better lives than those they were born into, and they can't do that without intelligence (just as much as those who had it easier to succeed, if not more).
But this isn't nearly as common as it could be, mainly because of the environment that they are then brought up in. If you are brought up with parents constantly spouting bull****, you believe it, and if you don't get the same opportunities and so don't get a better education, you never find out that your parents were wrong.
It's not about the potential for intelligence not being there, but if it is never exercised or nurtured, how can it show its potential?
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Aspiringlawstudent
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(Original post by Emaemmaemily)
Where is your proof for such claims though?
All of my points are those that are generally agreed upon (to varying degrees, obviously) throughout sociological expert opinions, and fairly well known as such. If you need links to some of those, let me know though.

You're basically saying everyone who is working class is stupid? That's ridiculous. There ARE those that beat the odds they are against and make better lives than those they were born into, and they can't do that without intelligence (just as much as those who had it easier to succeed, if not more).
But this isn't nearly as common as it could be, mainly because of the environment that they are then brought up in. If you are brought up with parents constantly spouting bull****, you believe it, and if you don't get the same opportunities and so don't get a better education, you never find out that your parents were wrong.
It's not about the potential for intelligence not being there, but if it is never exercised or nurtured, how can it show its potential?
That isn't what I'm saying at all. Read what I wrote again.

I did not say anyone is 'stupid'; I merely pointed out the existence of natural variations in a human attribute.

It is hardly controversial to say that shorter people are not so good at basketball, or that people 7ft tall make poor ballet dancers. I do not see why it is controversial so suggest that those that are less intelligent are generally less productive and therefore earn lower salaries.
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Emaemmaemily
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(Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
That isn't what I'm saying at all. Read what I wrote again.

I did not say anyone is 'stupid'; I merely pointed out the existence of natural variations in a human attribute.

It is hardly controversial to say that shorter people are not so good at basketball, or that people 7ft tall make poor ballet dancers. I do not see why it is controversial so suggest that those that are less intelligent are generally less productive and therefore earn lower salaries.
But you've ignored everything I've said, and that has been explained by sociological experts.
People with lower intelligence will more likely earn lower wages, yes. But not everyone on lower wages has natural lower intelligence. Intelligence has to be exercised and nurtured throught life in order to be productive, and those who are intelligent but grow up in poorer families don't get that, and so don't reach the potential they could.
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pg_maths
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(Original post by missyoung84)
Why are some people in favour of, and in fact celebrate, inequality?
Because trying to equalise outcomes is wrong and unjust.
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pg_maths
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I would suggest that filling one's mind full of left-wing propaganda is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. As then you catch the bug of envy and end up blaming the 'rich' or your background for all your failings, when in fact all those things can be overcome by people smart, motivated, hard-working and talented enough.
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missyoung84
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(Original post by pg_maths)
I would suggest that filling one's mind full of left-wing propaganda is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. As then you catch the bug of envy and end up blaming the 'rich' or your background for all your failings, when in fact all those things can be overcome by people smart, motivated, hard-working and talented enough.
Do you really believe that?

I find it difficult to believe that most people can't see that, being privately educated due to the wealth of your parents for example, doesn't put you at a distinct advantage to somebody whose parents struggle in some way, especially financially.

Lets take a common example - a mother and father with two children living on benefits after being the mother was made redundant from a call centre job and the father was made redundant from a manufacturing role. You really believe that simply by being smart (even though your parents haven't the wealth to buy you an enhanced education, let alone the cultural capital to ensure you get the most out of state education), motivated (even though your role models have shown you that all your education will achieve is an entry level job with no stability) hard-working and talented... that those children have the same chance to 'succeed' as somebody with wealthy parents in high-end employment of some kind?

It's nothing to do with envy. It's the fact that certain people have distinct advantages over others, just because of wealth - and surely that's something we should address, NOT celebrate (or accept).
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sevchenko
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I believe in Meritocracy and with Meritocracy comes inequality and rightly so
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pg_maths
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(Original post by missyoung84)
It's nothing to do with envy. It's the fact that certain people have distinct advantages over others, just because of wealth - and surely that's something we should address, NOT celebrate (or accept).
Well that's life, we don't all get a pair of aces...
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pg_maths
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(Original post by sevchenko)
I believe in Meritocracy and with Meritocracy comes inequality and rightly so
Amen to that
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pg_maths
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(Original post by missyoung84)
Lets take a common example - a mother and father with two children living on benefits after being the mother was made redundant from a call centre job and the father was made redundant from a manufacturing role. You really believe that simply by being smart (even though your parents haven't the wealth to buy you an enhanced education, let alone the cultural capital to ensure you get the most out of state education), motivated (even though your role models have shown you that all your education will achieve is an entry level job with no stability) hard-working and talented... that those children have the same chance to 'succeed' as somebody with wealthy parents in high-end employment of some kind?
so what do you suggest- make taxpayers put the kid into Eton?
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Donald Duck
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I do not believe that's the statistics to look at. I believe you should look at people's wealth, and the percentage of the total wealth the top x percent own compared to the bottom y percent, and how this changes over time (and ideally keeping the people who made up those top x percent constant between the time frames).
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missyoung84
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(Original post by pg_maths)
so what do you suggest- make taxpayers put the kid into Eton?
I suggest abolishing private education.
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pg_maths
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I just can't get over how many self-proclaimed intelligent people still believe in their religion of "unequal wealth" is the source of all problems in society.
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pg_maths
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(Original post by missyoung84)
I suggest abolishing private education.
OK,then they take up places in state schools?
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miser
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Some equality is inevitable, yeah - this is implied by people being different from each other. All we can do is make sure that people are not unreasonably disadvantaged.
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politics_student
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(Original post by missyoung84)
I suggest abolishing private education.
Why does there have to be a drop in standards?

Why can't state schools be encouraged to raise their own standards? I really don't believe there is such a thing as poor schools. If you think about the reasons why these schools are deemed as sub-standard - fights, disruptions in classrooms, truancy, teenage pregnancy, graffiti, teachers spending more time dealing with unruly pupils than teaching - are all personal choices made by students. It's up to their parents to instill morality, respect and a good attitude.

Therefore, if these schools weren't disruptive, students would be able to learn, then the intelligent students will be able to achieve their potential.

You seem to argue for the abolition of private schools on the grounds of jealousy. Those parents should have the freedom to decide where they wish their child should go to school, without the intrusion of the state. You shouldn't ban things just because you don't like them.
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