Is Wealth Inequality Fair?; The Double Edged Truth

Niges Getahun, Staff Writer

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There’s a tremendous wealth gap that exists not only in our country but in the world, and it’s growing at a rapid rate.

The issue exists worldwide, as in most nations a small few own the majority of that nation’s wealth and only a few countries own the majority of the world’s wealth. A wealth gap has been prevalent for much of human history, but the gap that now exists is at a greater scale than ever before.

However, the argument among economists and academics isn’t whether this wage gap exists, but rather if it’s a bad thing, and whether we should look to address it or let it take its course.

It’s clear that humans differ when it comes to physical, mental and emotional abilities. The question of whether this fact is the cause for the tremendous wealth gap that exists in, say, the United States, is of paramount interest. One question that arises is whether a nation should distribute its wealth according to the most competent and hardworking?

I believe the answer is yes. Large fortunes are made by meeting the needs of consumers, which contributes to the innovation and economic growth of a society. This creates an entrepreneurial platform for everyone to make a living for themselves. Wealth gap or no wealth gap, in a society standardized by equal laws and liberty, wealth inequality is inevitable.

At the same time, there are those who are able to make large fortunes through their ability to lobby and influence politicians who then use the power of the state to assist their business in the earning of a fortune. These actions are the antithesis of a free and equal society, as these people are obtaining special privileges not granted to others.

Maybe rather than focusing on trying to sway from a capitalist-free market system, we should find ways to improve the existing system and develop structures that make it easier for individuals to get into the market.

A good way to look at the wealth gap problem is through the board game Monopoly. In the beginning, players start out with the same wealth, but as the game progresses the distribution of wealth changes as a smaller number of players begin to take more and more of the wealth. Over time one person will eventually get all the wealth and thus be crowned the winner. I know, it’s just a board game, but it was designed on a capitalist-free-market system, so the analogy stands.

So, how do you go about solving this issue of a wealth gap? In the game, you could tweak the rules and make it fair.. You distribute the wealth earned by the person after every round and no one would win. In the real world, it gets slightly messy.

Applying the game metaphor again, you can tweak the rules and redistribute the wealth at each term, sort of like a socialist/communist system, but that would take away the whole point of the game and people will eventually lose interest.

Now, I don’t know how we could go about solving this. Maybe there is an underlying principle that creates this distribution. If taken at a radical level, the need for wealth equality could come at the cost of liberty and the free market that has revolutionized western civilization. However, a less radical and more prudent way to tackle this issue must be prioritized and approached carefully.

Ultimately, as society progresses it’s only fair that economic policies should be implemented to lessen this gap; policies based on the goal of granting everyone equal opportunities rather than policies based on the resentment of the super wealthy.

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Is Wealth Inequality Fair?; The Double Edged Truth