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Is income inequality a harmful phenomenon?

Opening Argument

melanielustmelanielust 261 Pts
edited May 2017 in Economy
In capitalism, it is natural for there to be very wealthy individuals at the top, and those who struggle below. From what I have heard the "wealth gap" means that the very rich suppress the poor, but I've also heard that the rich create a standard for the lower classes to look up to, therefore generating more wealth and progress as a motive.

I am genuinely curious about this since I have always wondered why income inequality is necessarily bad. All perspectives welcome.
  1. Is income inequality harmful?

    18 votes
    1. Yes
    2. no

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  • holoeholoe 4 Pts
    No, people who work hard deserve more, that includes money.
  • generally when the people at the top do better the lower tiers do better as well.

  • agsragsr 812 Pts
    @SaltyDog, good point. There are always exceptions, but generally when upper class does well, middle class does well too.  That raises the entire population.
    in any heathly economy it is okay for super-talented, super-lucky, super-hardworking to have much higher income. Otherwise we would have to say that Bill Gates or Elon Musk would be forced to make as much as an average engineer.  
    In socialist society the income get equalized to be "fair", but that doesn't promote progress and innovation.
    Live Long and Prosper
  • inc4tinc4t 162 Pts
    Harm of Income inequality is communist propoganda.  It is only not harmful, but fuels whats great about America.
  • thereptherep 61 Pts
    It is not harmful, due to the thinking of working hard and earning much more in comparison to not.
  • Economic inequality is a wells studied topic in economics. The literature generally agrees that current inequality is harming economic performance[1][2]. There are many ways inequality can harm economic growth. 
    1- Inequality reduces happiness and happy workers are more productive. 
    2- Inequality reduces trust as those on the bottom begging to view to top as predators. 
    3- Inequality results in more speculative type economic growth due to the rich having all the money instead of consumers[3]. Its not a coincidence that the two periods when inequalities was the highest both had large financial crisis. 
    4- Rich peoples tend to spend money on goods with high mark ups. They want vintage wine made with a hint of diamond and gold flakes.


  • @Oakchairbc , I agree with your argument. Income inequality can greatly reduce the staisifaction of workers and possibly decrease  productivity. 
  • Income inequality fuels the economy. However, in some cases it has reached an unacceptable point. Too much inequality is bad too. 
  • Income inequality is based on some being better at serving their fellow man than others, encouraging the others to improve themselves and their ability to serve.
  • Considering it does not exist. People just call anything a wage gap, for example, someone who earns $200,000 a year and someone who earns $20,000 a year would have SJWs calling it a wage gap. But you have to consider that they will have different fields, qualifications, roles, how long have they worked to get there etc.

    The only way you could talk about a wage gap as a harmful situation is if there were 2 people working at mcdonalds. One was earning $350 a week doing a 40 hour week, and the other earns $450 a week doing a 36 hour week. Then clearly something is not equal in their wages. But this does not happen, wages ARE equal it is law and it is standard. People are paid based on age+hours worked. It's all in a system that just pays for what you work. The money system and employers could not care less who's doing the job. As long as the job is getting done.
  • Schnuupi Why does age matter? Who care about age. I would only care about hours worked, job, experience, and record (Just to make sure they won't still some of the fries). ; )
  • Because a 16 year old can not do all of the duties of someone say 21, they may be too dangerous, or they be require responsibilities that require the worker to be over 18. Ages do matter. If an under 16 got paid the same as a 25 year old THAT would be an inequality wage gap. @Nope
  • Schnuupi How about instead of age it is ability. 
  • Again you miss the point. Someone under 18 can work in a Bar but they cannot perform all duties, therefore they get a lower wage. Makes sense. Over 18 you can do more tasks such as serving alcohol. There is a reason for this. It's also to discourage people leaving school at very young ages to work and to encourage them to pursue further and higher education. @Nope
  • @Schnuupi

    Right, the state needs to stop forcing people into the mold they think best and let people be free.
  • Schnuupi People under 18 are unable to do some bar jobs because of the law. So it still is part of ability right?
  • VaulkVaulk 434 Pts
    edited November 2017

    Firstly: From the following link you should walk away knowing this: "Much has been written about the relationship between inequality and economic development, but theory remains inconclusive".

    The entirety of this blog post is based upon this solid acknowledgement from the author.

    Second: In your second reference below, the author again states clearly that the theories regarding income inequality and economic development are inconclusive as there is uncertainty of how it happens.

    This one did a little better though, offering that there is suggestive evidence to support the relationship.

    Lastly, your third reference is pretty good.  The end of the article is summarized by the author by stating that while there's evidence to suggest that income inequality is negatively affecting growth...there's no known way to correct it in regards to policy.  The author acknowledges further that attempting to correct income inequality through policy has already been attempted in China and resulted in further inequality for the lowest financial class of citizens.

    1. If you're unhappy because someone makes more money than you do in the United States...then you're unhappy about your circumstances, not someone else's.
    2. If you're distrustful of those at the upper bracket of finances simply because they make more money than you...that's called "Being petty".
    3. Speculating wildly about what rich people want and how they spend their money is entertaining but none-the-less unproductive.

    "If there's no such thing as a stupid question then what kind of questions do stupid people ask"?

    "There's going to be a special place in Hell for people who spread lies through the veil of logical fallacies disguised as rational argument".

    "Oh, you don't like my sarcasm?  Well I don't much appreciate your stupid".

  • Schnuupi I mean ability in terms of personal and governmental ability. Age causes governmental abilities but governmental abilities cause things like wage. I think saying ability covers a wider range which is why I suggested it. : )
  • Yes, income inequality is bad.

    Firstly because it often goes against out conception of merit based rewards. As Piketty's Capitalism in the 21st Century shows - which was lauded as being one of the most comprehensive and evidence based analyses yet put together in economics - there is a trend towards stratified inheritance based wealth rather than wealth earned through merit and hard work.

    Secondly there is a raft of evidence showing that income inequality in a society is harmful on a variety of levels, from health outcomes to education achievement to teen pregnancy to crime rates. Not only that but even the rich tend to recieve benefits in these areas in more equal societies.
  • What is wrong with inheritance? 

    And how does my having more money than you cause you to fornicate?

    These fool’s are incapable of critical thought.
  • Income inequality, or inequality in general, is very important throughout nature; for if things were equal, there will be no evolution.
  • @melanielust

    Having no "income inequality" is harmful. Why? It would promote no one working hard. Why would I do anything if I get the same without working hard? The entire system would collapse.
  • The rich people are clearly working hard and they have a good job then they deserve to be rich and have this money. However, if the poor people aren't working and aren't putting in their best effort then they don't deserve all of this money.
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