Socio-economic Inequality

An examination of some of the causes of the current socio-economic inequality in the world, with a focus on several philosophers and their theories.

Inequality among human beings has been an issue of concern from times immemorial and some of the greatest thinkers in human history have sought to narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots through their philosophy, teachings and efforts. The paper shows that, ironically, religion has contributed more towards the inequality of mankind than any other “philosophy” in the recent past. It is not only religion however that has been responsible for the inequality. The paper shows that the whole economic and financial structure of capitalism, international financial rules and globalization is loaded in favor of the rich and has resulted in widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. We are now living in a world in which this gap is so pronounced as to be positively grotesque. The saddest part of the dilemma is that inequality in our world is increasing by the day. This essay is about the background, reasons and the present state of socioeconomic inequality. It includes a discussion of the theories of some of the leading philosophers in history who have deliberated on the issue such as Karl Marx. It examines the leading economic theory of our times capitalism, and looks at its pros and cons. The present state of inequality in the world, the reasons behind rising inequality and its possible effects are also discussed.
“In the Western Christian world, inequality was accepted as a way of life due to the widespread feeling that the existing social structure based on equality was impossible to change. The early Christian Church teachings emphasized that somehow living in sin had created inequality and misery for mankind, and a life without sin would solve all injustices. It was only in the 17th and 18th century that philosophers like John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau began to teach the inherent equality of man and belief in the possibility of social transformation began to spread. This was followed by the spread of socialist and communist thought that predicted social transformation and the demise of inequality through violent revolution.”