Friday, November 29, 2013

A focus on poverty obscures the need to tackle inequality

Gordon Gekko
From the Equality Trust:
"The idea of poverty as a stand-alone condition somehow unconnected to overall income and wealth distribution has two rather unfortunate side effects. First it encourages the idea that the poor are some sort of disconnected “other”. The argument follows that they are not like decent, hard-working, respectable people and their problems are innate (so it’s really all their fault) and are far more complicated than just a shortage of money. This dislocation is very convenient for rich people, especially when the idea is rammed into public consciousness on a daily basis and becomes a cultural norm. People (and governments) can then conclude that there is little point in tackling excessive wealth at the top of society since the problems that need tackling are clearly all confined within the poorer end of society. Inequality therefore remains unaddressed and high levels of poverty persist.

Second, the focus on poverty also allows the rich (should they wish to try and help) to disport themselves across the domestic and world stage as a force for good. This further obscures the root problem of their excessive share of income and wealth which is left largely unexamined and unquestioned. All of which probably explains why some rich people are keen to tackle poverty but most of them do not want to talk about inequality."
Important points to remember. With strong tax justice implications.

Also from the Equality Trust recently: Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and the laughable Laffer Curve. (See also Laffer in La-La Land).

Update 2014: for more information on tax justice and equality see here.

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