Inequality in Wealth, a Teaching Moment

I came across this video. It discusses the distribution of wealth in the United States, both the perceived and the reality. It does a very nice job of explaining where it is we were and where we are now. Even if this is the first time contemplating the distribution of wealth, this video’s explanations are clear and concise.

I have always known that there was a disparity, that the harder one works does not always equal greater wealth.  Even with this knowledge it doesn’t get easier to view this truth in the video. I remember reading an article some twenty years ago that posed the question ‘who was more important to the financial success of Disney World, the CEO or the employee that dons the Mickey suit everyday and is every visitors fantasy come to life?’. At the time I was working in Disney World, I was sure it was the latter. The minimum wage was about $5.35, Eisner was making about $500 an hour. Some say that those of us that see disparity are ‘success haters’, ‘lazy’, ‘freedom haters’ and more. This is because they believe that, someday they too will achieve this enormous wealth and if they see inequality or immorality in it while they are still among the lower classes then they will have to share it, or give it up, once they have achieved it. I use the term ‘achieved’ but a better term would be ‘received’ or better yet ‘taken’. This is because in my view no one person acts alone to such a degree that such vast salaries are justified. How does an actor justify making more than a firefighter, or another actor for that matter in the same show! Without whom the whole of the show would not exist for the ‘star’ to be in, how is the non-star rewarded?
“..from each according to ability, to each according to need…”
This simple statement has set many fires. I see it as a distillation of all religions and economic moralities. Of course, the political head of the US would not agree. Socialism has long been twisted to mean an all out end to individuality and economic freedom. A philosophy that holds it is a person’s intrinsic right to food, housing, water, education and family life is confused an muddied up as anything but that. The powers that be then turn around and vote against food and housing as human rights in the UN vote, not once but many times! Socialism is referred to in the video and while equal distribution of wealth would be ideal it is very unlikely to be a reality even in socialism. Think to the philosophy of man, is he inherently good or bad? But I digress.
When looking into wealth look with an open mind, not the mind confused by the American history book from seventh grade. Think about how you are doing, how much do you use credit cards? Everyday? For some or all of your shopping? Do you use it for necessities,food,clothing, rent? Or just wants(games , entertainment)? If credit did not exist could you get by? Now think, how hard do you work? Could you work more, harder, spend less time with family? And if you are one that thinks that this way would pay off, then what is the pay? How much would be enough?
I showed this video to my oldest son. He was interested. He is 18 with a job that pays the minimum. He sees the inequality. I asked if his friends would want to see this, he did not think they would nor could understand it. Even in this perfect simple graphing of a very important topic it is too much, in his opinion for his public school friends. And that right there says to me why we are in such an economically skewed society. If we do not teach the youth economic truths then they will be stuck with even less, being preyed upon by the one percent. They will have less family life , use more credit and have less in general terms of individual freedom while producing more for the class that has everything.

“but the poor do not exist as
an act of destiny, their
existence is not politically
neutral or ethically innocent.
The poor are a by-product of
the system in which we live
and for which we are
responsible. The poor are
marginalised in our social and
cultural world. They are the
oppressed, the exploited, the
workers cheated of the fruits
of their work, and stripped of
their being as people. The
poverty of the poor is not an
appeal for generous action to
relieve it, but a demand for
the construction of a different
social order.”
Gustavo Gutierrez, Practical
theology of liberation


About sixathome

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ Mom to six children that have never been sent to school.
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Arouse my imagination!

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