Hello Dr. Chapman and Class,
I think before proceeding with my response to this weeks discussion post, I wanted to start with my views on equal distribution of wealth. In my opinion, I think that although some level of inequality in wealth is necessary in order for economic stability as well as growth, there is no denying that in the US this unequal distribution of wealth is a problem that needs to be addressed. With regards to unequal distribution of wealth, “the United States today exhibits the most unequal distribution of income and wealth among advanced industrial societies.” (Marger, M. N., 2014) and furthermore, the top 1% of the US owns 42% of the wealth. One of the reasons this is an issue, is because in the US the rates of poverty are much higher and on top of that, the level of poverty for the bottom percent of Americans is severe. (Marger, 2014) The enormous gap between the top 1% and the bottom 90% is a problem that needs to be addressed because it not only affects income, it also affects health, education and the wellbeing of the lives of the bottom percentage in society.
In my research of the equal distribution of wealth, I was able to find an article that seemed to be arguing against equal distribution or a more egalitarian society in regards to income and wealth. I thought it was an interesting read and several good points were made, although by the end of the article, it did not skew my belief on there being equal distribution of wealth. I thought it would be interesting to share a view from the opposite side nonetheless.
One of the arguments against egalitarianism was, “One of the biggest problems with egalitarianism is it negatively judges people getting richer at different rates, even if everyone in society is getting richer in the process.” (Stringham, E. P., 2017) The article goes on to give an example of Warren Buffet being the richest person in America in 1993 but currently now has 20% less than Bill Gates. The article argues that the focus for egalitarians is on the loss of wealth in comparison to others rather than the focus being on the fact that (in this example) Warren buffet is 7.9 times richer than he was in 1993. (Stringham, 2017) The article continues that even in mild forms of egalitarianism the incentive to work to be in the top 1% or even to work hard and obtain skills to receive more income will be lost, and further, the market for bigger corporations will be lost. The author ends with the thought that, instead of focusing on the top 1%, we should be thankful for what these large corporations have done for us as well as the economy.
There is more in the article that does address some of the arguments made for equal distribution of wealth and what that would mean for society. But I am curious to know your thoughts on these points made by Stringham.
So class, what are your thoughts? 🙂
Marger, M. N. (2014). Stratification Systems and Social Mobility. Social Inequality: Patterns and Processes, Sixth Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
STRINGHAM, E. P. (2017). Should We Be Pushing for More Equality of Income and Wealth? Independent Review, 22(1), 105–120.
If all the wealth were to distributed equally throughout society, sure there would be positive outcomes at first but after some time we would start to see the negative outcomes of this. For instance, for the distribution of wealth to prosper, all or most of society would need to be finance savvy. In other words, everyone would need to know how to properly manage their money and ensure ways not to run out with proper informed spending. Without proper management of funds, the economy would suffer over time due to lack of spending and individuals investing into things. I found an article that talked about the positivity of equally spreading the wealth, but there is always the possibility of the downfall. Those individuals who are less educated may find themselves in a situation that can drain their money, while those more educated could become wealthier (Kochel, 2019). The former working class may now feel they do not need to put forth as much effort as before, if they even continue to work. This will also have a negative effect on the economy, not to mention the industry that loses employees and production. In the beginning it seems there would be a drop in health care needs such as in the area of mental health, with the equal distribution of finances, those who previously suffered from lack of mental health care due to no funding to afford care would now be able to receive the proper care necessary. The same goes with overall health care needs, individuals would be able to seek the care necessary. Education could be a possibility to more individuals who before never thought it could be possible for them to send their children to college, could now have a way to afford the education. This is not to say just because they now have the financial means that everyone who could benefit from further education would take the opportunity. It could go either way, both good or bad for society overall.
Köchel, P. (2019, June 6). What if money was equally distributed? INSH. https://insh.world/science/what-if-money-was-equally-distributed/.