It is impossible to ignore that global inequality is troubling to the core of human nature. Some people may benefit from global inequality, but that does not mean people suffer worldwide. The question surrounding the morality of global inequality always has arguments for fair and equal chances in the social environment. Global inequality has many areas that one can focus on while addressing the topic. Some areas include gender inequality, opportunity inequality, and political inequality (Getachew, 2019). However, the most alarming inequality in the world is economic inequality. When discussing economic inequality, all the other types of inequality arise. In today’s world economy, income and wealth disparities have become common and widely acceptable to everyone. Inequality in incomes and wealth is evident at different levels of society. Economic inequality exists among people living in the same country, as mentioned above, but the disparity is also visible between different countries. This paper will discuss in detail how troubling global inequality is morally troubling.
The real problem with inequality is not the fact that some people have more wealth than others. The troubling moral fact about inequality is that there are people with more than enough in society while people are starving in the same environmental setting. The human moral compass dictates that every human is equal, and everyone’s treatment should be the same without discrimination. When it comes to opportunities, everyone should have equal opportunity because every human life matters. Inequality in the world becomes morally troubling when a group of individuals gets more opportunities than the rest (Armstrong, 2012). In addition to getting the opportunities, the lucky few people get the most out of society, leaving the rest with almost nothing. It is not morally right for anyone to have nothing to eat while there are people who have everything in excess.
As mentioned above, inequality is not the core problem that affects the moral compass. While staging an argument against global inequality does not necessarily mean advocating for an equal world where one does not get credit for what one deserves. Inequality promotes competitiveness in the world; people work their way out to achieve the best for themselves. However, it’s vital to realize that even though one acquires wealth in a morally right manner, if the situation leads to cases of people lacking basic needs, the situation will be morally troubling (Rachels, James, and Stuart Rachels, 2012). For this reason, the leading cause making global inequality morally troubling is its effect on everyone. Global inequality is responsible for many people’s actions worldwide. Things like low living standards in certain countries are because of global inequalities. People cannot access opportunities like others, even with the right qualifications. Countries cannot educate their populations, making them more dependent on advancement from the educated nations, which widens the inequality gap.
The economic capabilities of different countries worldwide are the first approach to show how global inequality is morally troubling. Different countries have different economic capabilities. Some countries in the world are economically superior to a great extent compared to counterparts countries. An excellent example is the economic relationship between the United States and a country like India. Studies have shown that the wealthiest people in India can only come close to the poorest people in the United States (Armstrong, 2012). The kind of disparity in the study begs us to ask why people in different countries have life than others. It is not morally right that people living in the same world working the same job criteria significantly differ in terms of living standards. It is also essential to note that the economic disparity is because of one’s location. It is troubling to realize how living standards differ in each country, even after almost the same human labor. Countries like India will remain economically behind, with low living standards because of global inequality.
It is a sad reality that the place of birth determines the income someone will get in their lifetime. It is unfair that one location can determine their living standards. As mentioned above, every human in the world is equal. There is no moral compass when one person is living the best in one corner of their life while the other is suffering, and the main difference is where one was born. Moreover, the family setting is another aspect to consider when discussing the birthplace as a factor contributing to global inequality. It is unfair that individuals born in wealthy families get better life opportunities compared to people born in low-income families. The inequality in income in society creates different social classes. Rich people in society remain to be rich because they only share opportunities between themselves. People in the lower classes are left in the dark and stay poor; as time goes on, the get even poorer.
In addition, apart from every human should be equal other reasons make global inequalities morally troubling. Economic inequality in the world, to some extent, gives the rich control over the poor. In cases of extreme inequality, wealth distribution is uneven, available to only a few members of society. The rich in society or country can control what others are doing with their daily lives. The rich hold all the capabilities of employment, dictating what people will do to a living in the region. Moreover, the rich people in the society can control other people’s views. An excellent example is when the top 1% of the community owns media houses (Rachels, James, and Stuart Rachels, 2012). What the people see and from the media outlet is under the influence of the rich. It is not morally right for a couple of individuals to control other people’s lives and decide what information they consume. For this reason, global inequalities prove to be morally troubling.
Inequality in the world undermines justice and fairness in society for everyone. Politics in any part of the world are under the influence of the wealth in the country. The political candidates running for any seat depend on sponsorship from the wealthy to fund expensive campaign tours. For this reason, to some extent, the rich in society have control of politics in the country. The elected officials are obliged to give the rich who sponsored them priority in different matters affecting the public interest (Getachew, 2019). For this reason, economic inequality undermines the fairness expected from democracy. It is morally disturbing that individuals are above the law because of their wealth. It is wrong for an ideal society when others are getting privileges while the rest of the poor people in the community have restrictions and challenging limitations.
The other aspect to look at while discussing troubling moral issues of economic equality is how it affects the economy. The world’s economy depends on opportunities present for each group of individuals in any part of the world. When there is economic inequality, there are few chances of having equal opportunities across everyone. As mentioned above, income inequality is today’s most common form of economic inequality. People living in areas with low incomes have difficulty getting basic needs like education. Children in such areas tend not to have adequate preparedness to be part of the productive workforce in the economy. The opportunities are limited, and most children do not even get a chance to turn their lives better. Luck is the only hope that people living in such conditions have to upgrade their condition.
Income inequality is one thing, but salary increment is the other factor that makes inequality morally troubling. Research shows that from 1970 low life United States workers’ salary has had little increment while the rich had almost more than double salary increment in the same period (Getachew, 2019). It is not morally right for salary increments only to the country’s wealthy individuals. The growth of the country is because of everyone participating in the economy. There is no moral explanation as to why the only group of individuals having a better life-changing salary increment is the rich. The poor people also deserve a piece of the national cake. If the country benefits from hard-working economic status, everyone deserves to have an equal share of the fruits of their labor. Global inequality is troubling; only the chosen few benefit from greed, taking what others deserve.
Religion plays a crucial role in determining the morality of people in the world. A large population in the world follows religious teaching as their moral compass on what is right and wrong. Most religions like Christianity advise against one holding too much wealth while people are suffering from hunger. In today’s world, people’s economic inequality in terms of wealth is significant. Countries like Brazil have individuals with wealth almost the same as wealthy individuals in the United States, but the poor in Brazil are among the poorest in the world (Karin, 2012). People with unprecedented wealth in the same social setting lack the basics is against most religious teachings. For this reason, it is morally troubling to be in the religious perspective of things. Sharing is the key in religion; greed is condemned, which is inequality in today’s society.
Furthermore, worldwide inequality has led to increased crime rates and a lack of cohesion in society. After extreme cases of inequality in society, people in low-class hierarchies commit crimes as a way to get a living. It is because of inequality that humans will do the worst. A hungry man is an angry man; poor people get poorer as inequality continues in society resulting in violence in attempts to achieve equality. Inequality destroys the fabric of society by pushing the poor to the edge (Karin, 2012). Mistrust between the poor and the rich is born, and there is no healthy environment in society. Inequality affects human development and the moral reasoning of individuals facing a hard time. Anything that affects people’s rights and freedom, like economic inequality, is morally troubling. Equality in society promotes things like happiness which cannot prevail in cases of mistrust from inequalities presence.
Inequality is natural; everything and everyone in the world is made different from each other. For this reason, there is no particular time that everyone will be equal in the world. However, there are ways that inequalities are man-made. A good example is economic inequality in the world at the moment. The resulting inequality is because of greed by few individuals in the world’s top-class hierarchies (Armstrong, 2012). The few people on the top of the food chain are making sure that the rest suffer to make a living or barely live healthily. The health sector is an excellent example of what immoral global inequality has become in recent years. It is unjust that some individuals can afford the best medicine in the world without struggling. In addition, the rich have the best health insurance in the world or a particular country. On the contrary, some individuals live in slums, suffering from diseases like cholera and typhoid. It is worrying to realize that both scenarios are happening simultaneously. Inequality is on the rise and breaks any moral code humans have previously set.
Global inequality is a subject that is morally troubling in today’s world. As discussed earlier, the real problem of global inequality is its effects on society. Generally, no one wants an equal world where everything and everyone is equal; there will be no room for development. However, inequality becomes morally troubling when some people lack fundamental rights and freedom. There are disparities between countries, some wealthier than others, and there are also disparities within the country. People from different countries have income inequalities, which begs to question the moral reasoning of why the place of birth can define one’s income. There are various ways in which global inequalities breach the moral code. In the long run, a serious problem may arise soon if there is no action. The economy and political systems in the society are part of the sectors that are massively affected. People risk their lives being under the control of the rich, violating human rights.
Armstrong, Chris. Global distributive justice: An introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Getachew, Adom. “Worldmaking after Empire.” Worldmaking after Empire. Princeton University Press, 2019.
Karin, Elizabeth. “Review of Branko Milanovic, The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality, Basic Books, 2011, 258 pp.” Journal of Philosophical Economics (2012).
Rachels, James, and Stuart Rachels. The Elements of Moral Philosophy 7e. McGraw Hill, 2012.
Young, Iris Marion. “Responsibility and global labor justice.” Responsibility in context. Springer, Dordrecht, 2010. 53-76.