Is inequality bad for society as a whole?

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Is inequality bad for society as a whole?
 

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  • #2
russ_watters
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Inequality, absent other contexts, can neither be good nor bad.
 
  • #3
drankin


Inequality of what?
 
  • #4


Inequality of what?
...And in what context of good or bad? Are we talking about trying for some kind of utopia, or do you mean survival of the species... maybe progress... maybe money.
 
  • #5
russ_watters
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In the context of this forum, I took it to me social and therefore financial, but good point...
 
  • #6
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Is inequality bad for society as a whole?
The only relevant equity is before the laws, and the rights protected by the state.

In rest inequality is natural. We are not born equal, we are not part of the same social classes. Some will achieve more than others. So why should we be equal ?
 
  • #7


In the context of this forum, I took it to me social and therefore financial, but good point...
Thanks, and your point still stands in that context as far as I'm concerned.
 
  • #8


The only relevant equity is before the laws, and the rights protected by the state.

In rest inequality is natural. We are not born equal, we are not part of the same social classes. Some will achieve more than others. So why should we be equal ?
I think a distinction should be drawn between a goal of everyone being equal (yuck) in a kind of homogeneous smear, and the notion that we should strive to at LEAST see that people have equal opportunities. I don't want to have a quadriplegic fireman, and the fact that the poor man or woman was dealt a bad hand doesn't matter a bit! In our own pursuit of happiness, we don't have to be the same... that's not what equal means.

We could also say that the life of any given person is of equal value at the outset, or argue that it's not the case. This is why context matters so much.

After all, as The Onion so crudely pointed out with their sketch, would you like to get in a boxing ring with a futuristic cyborg? Equality can be an issue in sport where a particular element of competition is being isolated; hence weight-classes and a variety of forms of a given sport.

Sameness is not the same as Equality... it's just one dystopian form of it. Laws are another form of imposed equality in theory, sort of... if you really believe that. I'm an atheist, but if there is a god and I'm wrong, surely the only equality that would matter would be decided by that being, and supersede law, even nature.

No, the OP is so vague that this isn't even a Rorschach inkblot... it's just playing with words.
 
  • #9
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I think a distinction should be drawn between a goal of everyone being equal (yuck) in a kind of homogeneous smear, and the notion that we should strive to at LEAST see that people have equal opportunities. I don't want to have a quadriplegic fireman, and the fact that the poor man or woman was dealt a bad hand doesn't matter a bit! In our own pursuit of happiness, we don't have to be the same... that's not what equal means.

We could also say that the life of any given person is of equal value at the outset, or argue that it's not the case. This is why context matters so much.

After all, as The Onion so crudely pointed out with their sketch, would you like to get in a boxing ring with a futuristic cyborg? Equality can be an issue in sport where a particular element of competition is being isolated; hence weight-classes and a variety of forms of a given sport.

Sameness is not the same as Equality... it's just one dystopian form of it. Laws are another form of imposed equality in theory, sort of... if you really believe that. I'm an atheist, but if there is a god and I'm wrong, surely the only equality that would matter would be decided by that being, and supersede law, even nature.

No, the OP is so vague that this isn't even a Rorschach inkblot... it's just playing with words.
Equal opportunity dreams are utopic. If I'm born in a rich, well placed socially family, Ill afford the best education money can buy, social relationships in many places and so on. Something others persons wont have. Much more doors will open before me. That are just the way things are.

Ppl dont have equal opportunity. Because we are born in different social contexts and with different gifts. Social injustice is natural. Live with it.
 
  • #10
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In terms of inequality of society there are now claims that an unequal society creates health problems and social problems for every class, including the rich. It has been said that a country with a bigger gap between the rich and poor is a country with bigger health and social problems.

For instance countries like the USA and the Uk do worse than there equaivalents in more equal countries like Sweden or Japan. Unequal countries like the USA have a lot higher homicides per 100,000 than say Sweden. Unequal countries have higher teen birth rates, more violence, more obesity, more people in prison, and lower levels of child welfare. For e.g. If we were to plot a graph with the equality of countries on the x-axis and the amount of homicides on the y-axis, then we would see diagonal line rising as the equality lessens.

It it said that these social problems arise because countries like the USA and UK are more socially competitive places to live. This can give pose "physco social" factors- like social anxiety. Peoples feelings have a lot to do with their overall health apparently.

I myself am pretty sceptical about this as not sure the figures add up. A correlation between inequality and teen birth rate is just the same as a correlation between the number of birds migrating and the amount of homicides. I think more variables shold be taken into to consideration.
 
  • #11
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I

It it said that these social problems arise because countries like the USA and UK are more socially competitive places to live. This can give pose "physco social" factors- like social anxiety. Peoples feelings have a lot to do with their overall health apparently.

.
It's not the feelings per se, it's the modulative effect glucocorticosteroid hormones have on immunity. Those hormones play an important role on in regulation of stress. Permanent (social) stress is bad news for anyone.
 
  • #12


Equal opportunity dreams are utopic. If I'm born in a rich, well placed socially family, Ill afford the best education money can buy, social relationships in many places and so on. Something others persons wont have. Much more doors will open before me. That are just the way things are.

Ppl dont have equal opportunity. Because we are born in different social contexts and with different gifts. Social injustice is natural. Live with it.
Of course they're dreams.. did I ever imply otherwise? I didn't realize we were all supposed to take the view that we're doing the best we can. For me personally, telling me to live with it just laughable if you knew me personally, and still absurd given my position on morality, rights, and more. Still... whatever revs your engine.

P-Jay1: I don't know... those are such complex issues that I don't think something as (DanP says) utopian and unreal as equality... and what I'd say as dystopian and weird as equality... who knows?

This issue is so politicized and the loudest and most persistent voices have agendas, and/or are ideologues. It's hard to sort the chaff out in these circumstances, but be prepared now for an onslaught of conflicting statistics, and heated debate, ending in a locked thread. Funny thing is, it's not your fault that P&WA is so screwy in life, and on PF in particular.
 
  • #13


If there's a health risk in inequality, you find it in disease: tuberculosis, pertussis, mealses, mumps and rubella...

A lot of the inequality is an education and intelligence gap, regardless of social standing. Jenny McCarthy certainly wants for nothing material, but she thinks her child was made autstic by a vaccine. There are poor miserable people who never miss a vaccination...

That's not such a huge factor however, at least, as long as new antibiotics work...
 
  • #14
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In rest inequality is natural. We are not born equal, we are not part of the same social classes. Some will achieve more than others. So why should we be equal ?
Do you think you are biased in saying that? Would someone on the "losing" end make that statement?

I just got done watching a fantastic documentary from National Geographic called "Guns, Germs and Steel". It attempts to find the source of inequality in the world, historically. Obviously in a nutshell it comes down to "Guns, Germs and Steel", however the primary factor comes down to geography and how some civilizations were just lucky to be living where they were. For example the landscape and weather determined the quality and variety of farming. It's very good, I recommend it. You can find it on Nexflix Instant.
 
  • #15


Do you think you are biased in saying that? Would someone on the "losing" end make that statement?

I just got done watching a fantastic documentary from National Geographic called "Guns, Germs and Steel". It attempts to find the source of inequality in the world, historically. Obviously in a nutshell it comes down to "Guns, Germs and Steel", however the primary factor comes down to geography and how some civilizations were just lucky to be living where they were. For example the landscape and weather determined the quality and variety of farming. It's very good, I recommend it. You can find it on Nexflix Instant.
Haiti, and the Dominican Republic are a good, stark, modern day example. One island with two parts, and very different histories; blood and steel, and very different agricultural practices.

btw, that was a terrific documentary... NatGeo can be hit or miss, but when they hit, boy do they hit. Have you seen the documentary about the moment of death?... a bit disturbing, but also a fascinating way to examine the mind.
 
  • #16
18,058
7,426


Have you seen the documentary about the moment of death?... a bit disturbing, but also a fascinating way to examine the mind.
Nope, but I just added it to my queue :)
 
  • #17


Nope, but I just added it to my queue :)
Ah! pressure! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :smile:
 
  • #18
Al68


Do you think you are biased in saying that? Would someone on the "losing" end make that statement?
Of course, absolutely. Why wouldn't they, unless their political beliefs are corrupted by their own single data point. Having grown up very poor and struggled raising my own family (lower middle class at best), a single data point doesn't affect legitimate political beliefs. Political beliefs just don't follow the rich/poor fictional dichotomy espoused by many on the left.

And the truth is that inequality is necessarily the result of liberty. A society cannot be both free and equal.
 
  • #19
106
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Do you think you are biased in saying that? Would someone on the "losing" end make that statement?
Probably I'm a bit biased, although not very much. I don't think if I would be on the loosing end, I would be any different. And let's not forget, I can end there anytime, life offers you a lot of bad surprises. Some I already experienced, unfortunately. But you wont find me shifting my PoV and starting to complain.

I cant speak for other ppl. I see there is a trend to complain and ask for more and more welfare from the government, so god knows.
 
  • #20
918
16


I have an apple a day and so does my neighbor, so it might seem to the uninitiated that we are equal. However, he likes to eat his apple in the morning and I prefer to eat it in the afternoon. This seemingly innocent difference is actually the seed of a great inequality. It happened that the neighborhood socialist came by at noon and noticed that I had an apple, but my neighbor did not. "That's not fair." says he. So he took my apple and divided it in three equal pieces, one for my neighbor, one for me, and one for the socialist. Now we have equality.
 
  • #21
106
1


It happened that the neighborhood socialist came by at noon and noticed that I had an apple, but my neighbor did not. "That's not fair." says he. So he took my apple and divided it in three equal pieces, one for my neighbor, one for me, and one for the socialist. Now we have equality.
You cant even call that being a "socialist". he is a Marxist. If there is a devil, I hope he burns Marx in a tar cauldron till the end of time :P

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need", there is no more misguided behavior than this one. A total ignorance of the human nature. The beast who created Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot and other creatures who pretended to engineer a new world.
 
  • #22
918
16


You cant even call that being a "socialist". he is a Marxist.
I'm not sure the label is the problem, but for the record, he calls himself a socialist.
 
  • #23
Al68


You cant even call that being a "socialist". he is a Marxist. If there is a devil, I hope he burns Marx in a tar cauldron till the end of time :P
Times two. He was by far the most influential man of the 20th century (while he was dead). Probably more influential than any one man since Mohammad. And not in a good way.
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need", there is no more misguided behavior than this one. A total ignorance of the human nature.
The most sinister aspect of that is that today, people can use "ability" to justify who government should take from, use "need" to justify who to give it to, while simultaneously denying having a Marxist political philosophy. And, at least in some cases, they actually believe that themselves.

Could Marx have ever predicted that socialist propaganda could be so remarkably effective?
 
  • #24


Times two. He was by far the most influential man of the 20th century (while he was dead). Probably more influential than any one man since Mohammad. And not in a good way.The most sinister aspect of that is that today, people can use "ability" to justify who government should take from, use "need" to justify who to give it to, while simultaneously denying having a Marxist political philosophy. And, at least in some cases, they actually believe that themselves.

Could Marx have ever predicted that socialist propaganda could be so remarkably effective?
So... everyone who meets that very broad criteria, even if they don't follow or share the philosophy or even execution proposed by Marx, is a Socialist.

OK, all people with numbers in their PF tags gaze lovingly at the moon and sing french sonnets.


Heh... I see why you do that, it's fun to make patently absurd statements and just sit back... it's much easier that that whole "reasoning" thing I was trying for. Phew, thanks man.
 
  • #25
Al68


So... everyone who meets that very broad criteria, even if they don't follow or share the philosophy or even execution proposed by Marx, is a Socialist.
Nope. It's not very constructive to repeatedly misrepresent the posts you respond to.

I was obviously referring to people who do share Marx's philosophy. But you knew that.

Edit: Not all people who share that philosophy object to the word socialist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders" [Broken], for example, refers to himself as a socialist. As much as I disagree with him, at least he's not ashamed of who he is, and knows what the word socialist means.

The word socialist is not a personal insult, or a reference to madmen (Mao, Stalin, Hitler, etc) who happened to be socialist, as so many apparently believe.
 
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