Poorer, dumber, sicker, more dangerous, racist. Income inequality and creating a better way forward. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
Oxfam just came out with it's new report about income inequality in the world. This latest report says income inequality is racing ahead at levels we've never seen before. In fact, the top 26 billionaires in the world have as much wealth as the bottom half of the entire world's population. You may say "well, I don't really care what other people do with their money Chet. That's not my problem." Here are four ways you should care and how this dramatic concentration of wealth and power is affecting your day to day world.
EDUCATION: In a recent report, the Organization for Economic Co-operation found that the concentration of wealth takes it out of circulation in communities, which means there simply is less to go around. From their 2014 report, they found that children feel the brunt of this. Children from the bottom 40 percent of households (a huge chunk of the population) are missing out on pricey educational opportunities. That makes them less productive employees, which means lower wages, which means lower overall participation in the economy.
CRIME; While many countries have enjoyed several years of a falling crime rate, individual communities will and have started to see it on the rise again. That's according to a 2016 London School of Economics study. For instance, their study found that greater income gaps between neighboring U.S. neighborhoods led to more property crime in the richer neighborhoods. “Income differences create an incentive for those relatively poor to steal from richer households,” the authors explain.
HEALTH: In a stunning 2015 report from the Seven Pillars Institute, dramatic income inequality leads to a health crisis. The report says "The impoverished members of society are subject to disproportionate occurrence rates of certain kinds of illnesses. Access to quality health care and healthy food is sometimes limited or unavailable for poor individuals. The result of a substantial poor population, a defining feature of economic inequality, is a less effective lower-income work force, higher disease and mortality rates, higher health care costs, and progressively deepening poverty for afflicted groups."
INTELLIGENCE: Professor Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, of Miami University led a group of researchers who discovered that people don't end up in poverty because they are less intelligent. It's the other way around. Poverty makes people less intelligent. Published in The Journal for Preventative Medicine in 2016, the report says falling into poverty appears to make people become less intelligent and become old before their time. Researchers found life on the breadline for 20 years was “strongly associated” with “worse cognitive function” and premature aging. And they suggested the potential causes of this phenomenon included the stress of having little money, inadequate housing and sanitation, and an unhealthy lifestyle – a poor diet, smoking, alcohol and too little exercise.
SYSTEMIC RACISM: Last year, The Washington Center for Equitable Growth provided a paper written by researcher Robert Manduca. His conclusion from his studies is simple: "rising income inequality has disproportionately harmed African Americans, negating substantial improvements in relative terms and preventing what would otherwise have been a meaningful, if incomplete, convergence in incomes between blacks and whites. In short, inequitable growth over the past few decades is a major driver of our nation’s persistent racial income gap."
If left to our own devices and without some action being taken, we are transitioning into a poorer, dumber, sicker, dangerous, racist future.
Fortunately, that's not the end of the story.:
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Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org