Thursday, July 17, 2014

The GAP - Part IV - the cost


At some point, the laborer will no longer work and sacrifice his life and the lives of his children for the benefit of another's opulence and privilege.

There are crimes and there are causes.  Among the many known causes, economic inequality has direct correlation to crime rate.  Our increasing inequality in the U.S. is visible in the crime and incarceration rate.

In a 2002 study by World Bank economists found that crime rates and inequality are positively correlated within countries and also between countries. The correlation is a causation – inequality induces crime.

This finding parallels crime theory by economist Gary Becker, who shows that an increase in income inequality has a direct effect of increasing crime. Not only that, but a country’s economic growth (GDP rate) has signi´Čücant impact in lessening incidence of crimes. Since reduction in income inequality gap and a richer economy has an alleviating effect on poverty level, it implies that poverty alleviation has a crime-reducing effect.
A portion of the problem, therefore, theoretically rests on the two factors being able to produce the desired effects; poverty alleviation and lesser crime rate. For now, however, reality gives us shaky economic growth and worsening income inequality.
The U.S., which ranks 3rd among the most income-unequal nations, and the worst in terms of income gap growth, also has the largest percentage of its population in prison among industrialized democratic nations.  Is it a mere coincidence or does it reflect the social ills that a big wealth disparity and overt rich-poor distinction brings?
Besides criminal activity, other warning signs point to the cause.  Protests, resistance, public demonstrations, political divisiveness and radical movements are all the norm when faced with visible injustice and inequality.
Disappointingly, government appears to consistently favor the wealthy and their corporate counterparts.  Regulations, programs, decisions, and priorities all seem to favor the wealthy to the detriment of the bottom 90% of their citizenry.  Such has been the circumstance entering each of the nation destruction eras in human history.

While there are many ways to interpret the numbers, the common perception is of an ever-widening gap; a loss of substance, of representation, of opportunity, of equality, of fairness, of liberty and a voice in shaping your own life.  Ask.

The task ahead is a difficult one, both for us as individuals and as nations.

The only way for a small group of people to become obscenely rich is for huge masses of others to be kept quite poor.