In light of my previous post on Christians, Capitalism, and Ayn Rand, I’m going to share a fascinating video and an insightful infographic.
I’ll keep my commentary brief and related to the previous post…
The video shows the health and social problems that rise with economic inequality. If we assume that we can’t fix the broader inequality, perhaps Christians and churches could look to those problem areas as primary places to get involved. How can we contribute something positive in areas of imprisonment, teenage births, obesity, mental illness and addiction…?
The video is nearly 17 minutes long. It’s worth it. Find some time and watch.
The infographic below is enlightening. It shows a marked gap between our perception and reality regarding wealth distribution. Credit to James K. A. Smith (@james_ka_smith), whose symposium I mentioned in the last post, for sharing the graphic.
This isn’t really a theological post. The last one was. This is just to stimulate some further thoughts in light of that one. What do you think?
4 thoughts on “Economic Inequality and Societies”
I’ve heard a few different criticisms of this graphic and video that seem to think they’re advocating for some form of Robin Hood “take from the rich, give to the poor,” and that they’re trying to blame individuals’ crimes on society. I don’t think that’s the point. An Asbury seminary prof, Ruth Anne Reese, was dealing with similar questions on Facebook. Her wise and articulate answer:
“The speaker actually argues that income distribution can be achieved by building people up so that they earn more (cf., Japan) rather than solely through redistribution of income by taxation (cf., Sweden) […]
“The argument based on data collected from the UN’s database is that when a society has more income inequality (for example, when you look at those who work and the one working full time on the bottom of the scale makes “x” amount and the one working on the top of the scale makes “10x” amount) that society also has more crime, stress, lower educational achievement, worse health, more obesity, etc. This is a classic example of correlation. Why is it that these things rise in countries with more income inequality and fall in those with less income inequality?
“The speaker then goes on to show that two very different cultures (Sweden & Japan) arrive at less income inequality (e.g, the person on the bottom makes “x” and the person on the top makes “3x) by very different means. Sweden by taxation after taxes; Japan by paying higher wages to ALL workers before taxes. However, both of these cultures have much better outcomes for health, education, stress, etc than cultures with more income inequality.”