Capitalism and Inequality

Inequality—the state of not being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities—is a concept that has been the primary focus of social justice theories for many years. Life started back from the dark ages, but Inequality did not.  Humans survived the Stone Age and Iron Age with fewer riots than today. Since the barren lands were turning into fertile lands and oasis, just after the agricultural revolution, the concept of Inequality came to light. People started to own land to make their survival sustainable, and the idea of private property prevailed. The optimum environment provided an incentive for inequality to flourish.

Although there are many types of Inequalities in society, economic and social inequalities are in public debate. Social inequality states the unfair distribution of opportunities and rewards for a position in society. Coming to economic Inequality, how financial resources are distributed among the individuals in a community. There are two common perspectives about economic Inequality: Inequality of opportunities and Inequality of outcome. The former, Inequality of opportunities, is primarily concerned with unequal access to employment and education. And the latter, Inequality of outcomes, is concerned with the various material dimensions of human well-being, such as income and health statuIn in Karl Marx’s view, society had been divided into two classes: ‘Bourgeoisie’ and ‘Proletariat.’ The first one is who owns all means of production, and the remaining one is who sells its human capital to the bourgeoisie.

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Inequality causes class conflict. The wealthy class exploits the poor, and most of the people cannot get opportunities. Unequal distribution of wealth creates monopolies. These monopolists exploit the poor by charging higher prices, and sometimes they even blackmail the governments to achieve their benefits. In this situation, how can a talented person contribute to an economy? Consequently, Inequality causes political instability. Inequality undermines social stability and solidarity. When political tension rises, people join different groups to get their rights. In short, political instability flourishes extremism.

The top 20% of the worlds wealthiest people hold 80% of the world’s income, and its impact can be seen from the survey. A UNICEF  survey says kids do worse in developing countries where income distribution is unequal. Their involvement in social activities and community is less than that of developed countries’ Children. Such patterns create a lack of trust in the institutions of society, leading individuals to more deviant behaviour, such as crime. Furthermore, a lack of social assimilation also makes a large part of the population vulnerable to a host of mental illnesses and issues.

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Social welfare depends positively on the level of income and negatively on income inequality and poverty. Income inequality leads to economic inefficiency and insufficient allocation of assets. Inequality causes an unequal distribution of wealth, and unequal distribution means exploitation, and that exploitation leads to dependency.

Dependency theory was presented, in the late 50s, by some classical economists. According to this theory, the world is divided into two countries: Core nations and Periphery nations. Core nations- developed countries- are the major nations that hold all the resources, while the periphery nations are the underdeveloped ones that rely on Core nations for development. It is worthwhile to mention here that core nations gather raw material from the periphery at low prices. The Core can convert the raw material into final goods. After the entire process, Core again sells these final goods to the periphery at high prices. In this way, developing countries trap in a vicious cycle and never escape. Dependency theory explains the phenomenon of Inequality on the international level. Similarly, Inequality exists from the world level to grass root level.

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The example of Balochistan is the most crucial at a national level. Social scientists believe that lack of urbanisation is the leading cause of disparity in—the largest province—Balochistan. Moreover, the federal government does not allocate a budget according to their needs. Balochistan receives less than half of its total budget. That’s why social indicators like education and health are not satisfactory in Balochistan. Similarly, economic inequalities create social inequalities there, and this is an accurate depiction of Inequality among the provinces.

Renowned economist Amartya Sen proposed the ‘capability framework’ in which he figured out that equalising the income is not essential but the well-being and freedom of a man because people convert their income into well-being. The real opportunity of life is to give people authentic and real freedom.

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