Tag Archives: inequalities nightmares

We must deal with injustice and inequalities…

…Otherwise, no one will sleep soundly

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INEQUALITIES, INJUSTICES, etc OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY AND AROUND THE WORLD

The poor cannot sleep, because they are hungry,” Nigerian economist Sam Aluko famously said in 1999, “and the rich cannot sleep, because the poor are awake and hungry.”

We are all affected by deep disparities of income, injustice and wealth, because the political and economic system on which our prosperity depends cannot continue enriching some while it impoverishes others especially in Prince George’s County.

While on the above point, the court system should not be used as a tool to provide justice for some while ignoring the rest. The political elites should not tamper with the law in any way, shape, or form.

During hard times, the poor lose faith in their leaders and the economic system; and when times are good, too few enjoy the benefits. The GINI coefficient, a measure of economic inequality, has been rising for many years in developing as well as developed countries. A very good example can be found here in Prince George’s County.

In United States and Europe, inequalities have intensified recently as a result of rapidly rising unemployment, particularly among young people. Some have reacted by rioting; others have backed far-right xenophobic political parties; many more see the quietly, growing ever more resentful of politicians and the system they represent.

The problem is starkest in the world’s megacities, which account for around 80 per cent of global GDP. But even in the most developed cities, disparities can be marked.

For example, as you travel on the London Underground just six miles east from the heart of government at Westminster to Canning Town, the life expectancy of the inhabitants at each successive stop falls by six months. The same goes for inhabitants of south East – Washington DC and Capital Heights in Maryland.

But inequality is most acute in emerging economies where urbanization has been quickly developing . By 2030, an estimated 2.7 billion more people will have migrated to cities across the world, almost entirely in developing countries. Many will encounter hopelessness there, rather than the good jobs and better life for which they came to find.

Megacities like Mumbai, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur and Kinshasa are essentially small cities surrounded by huge slums — pockets of wealth in a sea of despair. None resembles the likes of Tokyo, New York, London or Washington DC which, despite areas of deprivation as indicated above, are notable for a more equitable distribution of wealth somewhat.

Such disparities are equally apparent at the national level, especially in some of Africa’s resource-rich countries. While demand for private jets and SUVs are booming, 60 per cent of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. As the world overall grows richer, the benefits continue to flow overwhelmingly to a tiny elite. The privileged as demonstrated here in Prince George’s County are not always playing by the rules. For example, just look at what is happening after the take over of the PG County school system and the ensuing corruption currently underway.

As a result, efforts to promote more inclusive growth have become crucial, not only for moral reasons, but also to ensure the survival of the global economic system.

This involves more than wealth distribution. It means bringing people — or representatives of specific race or ethnicity, religious, or regional groups — into public-policy decision-making, to allay their sense of marginalization or perpetual failure.

It means creating real jobs to draw workers away from the informal economy, so they can benefit from workplace protections (and pay taxes). And it means framing policies that are appropriate to conditions on the ground.

But two overriding sets of policies appear to apply in almost all cases. The first seeks to ensure that poor children have access to a reasonably good education as a means to reduce inter-generational poverty. The second set of policies, which are particularly relevant in resource-rich countries, aims at guaranteeing all citizens a share of revenues from national assets.

Such policies have been shown to work in places like Brazil, whose pioneering Bolsa Familia (or family allowance) policy provides cash transfers to poor families on the condition that their children attend school, eat properly, and fulfill other criteria to improve well-being.

Mexico’s “Opportunity” programme performs a similar function. Oil-rich Alaska pays dividends from its resource revenues to all of its citizens in a transparent manner, a model many developing countries want to emulate. Although economists continue to debate the advantages and disadvantages of such schemes, they are not too complicated to set up even in Prince George’s County and other counties around the United States.

Governments, businesses, NGOs, and individual citizens, rich or poor, all have a role to play. If we ignore the dangers of wealth disparities for much longer and allow a few individuals to destroy communities while abusing power for selfish motives, the consequences will be far more distressing than a few sleepless nights.

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The Worst Possible Time For Poor Americans is happening at the moment.

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Many Americans struggle to make ends meet on a very limited budget. The same goes around the world.

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Growing Poverty and Despair in America

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