The Greatest Economic Challenge; Economic Inequality

The single greatest economic challenge the world currently faces is economic inequality, which, in truth, is only getting worse with time. For instance, in 1965, CEOs earned roughly twenty times more than an average worker. In 1980, they earned 34 times more. More recently, in 2014, CEOs earned 300 times more compared to a typical middle-class citizen.

According to a report released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs called The World Social Report 2020, it primarily argues about the dangers of economic inequality and how it is mainly driven by flawed political systems that favor the wealthy one per cent. As a consequence, economic inequality becomes a self-reinforcing cycle and has the potential to grow to extremes where poverty is simply atrocious and where basic human rights such as health care is only accessible to the wealthy upper class households.

Not only can it take poverty to the extremes and further divide society by pushing the majority of the middle-class population into the lower class, but unemployment will ultimately skyrocket. In such cases, there is an extremely high chance that the middle class will no longer exist and, in fact, the middle class is already shrinking every year at a constant rate due to our technological advancements putting an end to many professions.

Consequently, it has become arduous or even nearly impossible for most people to even obtain a stable job in today’s society. While the global population and the need for jobs are growing at an alarming rate, technology has already taken over 90% of the jobs humans used to do in the past, meaning that in the near future, with so many people here on earth and with the rate technology is taking the majority of human jobs, it will be nearly impossible to even consider acquiring a stable career.

Additionally, due to the fact that employers are always trying to look for the best applicants, and with so many bright-minded people laid off with near-perfect resumes, getting a job in today’s world is already difficult when considering the fact that there is an unimaginable amount of highly-trained individuals who are willing to take jobs that they normally would not take.

As a result, the twenty-first-century global competition and technology are destroying middle-class professions and higher skills are no longer free access coupons for good jobs and incomes. According to Market Watch, “Middle-skill workers are now more likely to be in the lower-income class and less likely to be middle income. Highly skilled workers are also less likely to make it to the higher-income class.”

If economic inequality is not solved, it may leave millions of families financially vulnerable and put some households in financial jeopardy when a crisis arises. This can be proven through the current Coronavirus situation. While the world’s wealthiest people such as Bill Gates predicted the Coronavirus, stating that a major epidemic is the most likely catastrophe to happen and hence taking full advantage of the pandemic as well as profiting from it alongside all the other influential multinational companies, a large number of middle and lower class went bankrupt or became unemployed.

Therefore, I would like to provide a solution to solve this increasingly concerning problem; we need to remove school boundaries and property taxes should not be used to cover the majority of the school funding. In order to remove economic inequality, we must first solve the issue of school segregation because it plays a huge role in the division of society when it comes to wealth, making some parts of the city wealthy and throwing others into literal poverty.

As a result of property taxes and how they are mostly used to fund schools, it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle where schools in higher-income neighbourhoods regularly receive close to double the amount of funding compared to lower-income neighbourhoods and therefore are able to attract more and more higher-income families.

For instance, according to the Washington Post, in countries with high economic inequalities such as the United States, it states that “an average of 15 percent less per pupil is spent in low-income school districts”. Moreover, studies conducted by the United States Census Bureau have found that while Utah spends USD 5,708 per student, higher-income states like New York or Massachusetts spend nearly three to four times more.

Thus, when students finally graduate, students in higher-income neighbourhoods who were exposed to a wider variety of opportunities, experiences, extracurricular activities, as well as highly-experienced educators and faculty members, have a significantly higher chance of getting into universities and later acquiring a stable career.

Another reason why removing school boundaries would be effective is that when students are surrounded by people from different cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds, they can learn to have a better understanding, compassion, and empathy for different kinds of people and their roles in society.

Furthermore, countries with higher income mobility such as Germany and Switzerland have already implemented a solution in order to help lower-income individuals who are in need of financial help, also known as the Universal Basic Income Payment. It is a public program provided by the government and is sufficient to cover basic needs.

The government pays them about USD 1600 per resident every month for a period of time and is provided to anyone who is unemployed or financially struggling and seeking to start a better life. This fund is provided without prerequisites or requirements that need to be met.

In conclusion, in this day and age, despite the fact that it would not be possible to completely change society in general, we could at least give everyone a fair start by providing quality education not just to the wealthy but also to the unprivileged as well as an opportunity for students from different backgrounds to get along with each other. If we could possibly implement a combination of solutions including some of ours, we might hopefully be able to solve this global issue and move forward towards a better future.

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