Thought Archive

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Is Inequality necessary?

Are we appalled or approving of inequality amongst ourselves – a humanity as a whole? Is it fair to drive a top-of-the-range car, while children of Darfur are dying of hunger. Is it fair to have a private home than your less advantageous brother, who lives in the council flat. Whether inequality is a moral or societal problem does not matter, for since most of us at least feel unease about the world’s inequality, means that there is something wrong . Wider question arises as to whether it acceptable to recognize that some aspects of global inequality are impossible to remove from this world.

There are people who try to re-define the morality of today, by rejecting our right to contribute to charitable causes. Positivist school of Ayn Rand, for example refuse to recognize human family as a collective where we should be compassionate towards each other. Compassion and charity, in their minds, is an enemy of human progress.

Theirs is a simple premise: that is pure undulated egoism of an individual that contributes to everybody’s development, whereas religious feelings (and compassion and charity are religious feelings, that are inculcated into us by their descendant – secular morality) are slowing this development, burdening this supreme individual with communal responsibility

“The acceptance of economic inequality is generally associated with the political right. One argument in favor of the acceptance of economic inequality is that, as long as the cause is mainly due to differences in behavior, the inequality provides incentives that push the society towards economically healthy and efficient behavior. Capitalists see orderly competition and individual initiative as crucial to economic prosperity and accordingly believe that economic freedom is more important than economic equality”

However, we can not accept that this argument should prevail unchanged, since poor of the world implore us and cry out to us for help. Their lot is unbearable, and it is not their fault that born they were in the countries that are disfunctional, poor, riddled with corruption and war. It is not their fault that they live in the housing estates riddled with crime and little chance of getting a decent education.

Undiluted capitalism and free enterpise lead to corruption, greed and withdrawal of funds from the poor. Capitalism in the straigthjacket of religious feelings, social responsibility, and welfare behaves less effectively in generating wealth, but it delivers on the promises of basic equality.

Ruling classes have to feel shame for their poor in their midst – or as they would have said in the past – for the welfare of their subjects. They have to be educated most of all in the science of compassion, charity and opportunity . They have to believe in helping their fellow men in this life.


Riri said...

Noble thoughts and feelings but it has all been lamented before...There cannot be a Republic according to Plato's ideals simply because most humans are not ideal by nature. We will see how capitalism will fare in the future but it looks very bleak right now, it is on the verge of complete implosion in my opinion.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Thanks for comments. They are always welcome. I wish I could leave comments on you blog

NoolaBeulah said...

I'd just like to quote some figures to Riri before addressing the points in your post. About capitalism:
The daily food intake in poor countries has increased by 38 per cent since the 1960s to 2,666 calories per person per day on average

The rate of chronic undernourishment has halved to 17 per cent, compared with a little over a third 45 years ago

The number of people subsisting on $1 a day has declined from 16 per cent of the world population in the late 1970s to 6 per cent today, while those living on $2 a day dropped from 39 per cent to 18 per cent. (In 1820, 84 per cent of the world’s population lived in absolute poverty; today this is down to about a fifth.)

Life expectancy in China has surged from 41 years in the 1950s to 71 years today; in India it is up from 39 years to 63 years, almost doubling the average lifespan of 2 billion people

By the early 1950s a child born in a wealthy country such as Britain could expect to live 25 years longer than a child born in a poor country such as Algeria; today the gap has closed to 12.2 years

Before industrialisation, at least 200 out of every 1,000 children died before reaching their first birthday. Infant mortality globally is now down to 57 per 1,000

In 1960 a quarter of all children aged ten to 14 were in work, a share which has fallen to a tenth today.

The global illiteracy rate has declined from 46 per cent in 1970 to about 18 per cent today.

About inequality, Hazar, I agree with what you say implicitly, that it is inevitable. In fact, I'd say it is necessary for any progress. You seem to accept that many African nations will never be decent places to live, but that we should give anyway. I agree that we should give, but think that armed with better knowledge of what works and doesn't, we should give a little more cleverly, and also start holding corrupt governments, in some way, to account.

Hazar Nesimi said...

I would vouchsafe for Riri by saying that Algeria is not really a poor country as assumed but a middle income one.

Yes I agree with positive influence of capitalism, and with giving aid more cleverly. In fact in most cases, that is what one HAS to do to help another human, empower him. BUT I dont think that pure heart charity is always bad as some seem to imply, sometimes it wakes the recepient to action, and sometimes it is just that - a charity for the sake of it. It is needed.. You sympathise with an injured cat, what about a human being, dejected or handicapped.. Why not help him/her. Without waiting for reward or a responce. and without feeling good for it.