Wealth inequality is very provient in our world today with laissez-faire capitalism being the key to how we run our economics as the world’s superpower the United States embracing it despite high rates of poverty. In fact wealth inequality is so high right now within the United states that the richest 0.1 % own as much bottom 90 % (Monaghan, A. 2014, November 13). This is an bigger level of inequality since the Great Depression, a time where people had to wait in lines for one serving of soup (Monaghan, A. 2014, November 13).
In fact even other modern nations that are supposed to be more equitable with social market capitalism are seeing rise of wealth inequality with Australia’s 1 percent having 13.8 % of wealth in the country in 2010 compared to 4.8 % in 1980 (Monaghan, A. 2014, November 13). These trends show that capitalism will lead to wealth with inequality whether measures are placed to prevent it or is accepted and that poverty exists since people are “lazy” a mindset that many Americans have towards this issue.
Conflict theory specifically Marxist theory would state that capitalism leads to exploitation and that inequality shouldn’t exist. Marx believed that in our natural state before we created social hierarchies everyone worked collectively sharing resources equally with everyone in society considered equal.. In his mind this would be considered “primitive communism” and the way how society is naturally suppose to work.
This is contrast to how society was runned during Marx’s lifetime and even to this day.According to conflict theory society is based on dispute over resources with the bourgeoisie (capitalists who owned these resources) and the proletariat (workers who produce these) fighting on who truly has control over these resources. In this sociobiological theory of class warfare bourgeoisie capitalists own the means of production including products coming from them despite not working for these resources while proletariat workers create the resources but do not own them. Bourgeoisie capitalists would become rich and powerful owning these resources having most of them while workers had very little creating a form inequality. This is why Marx believed workers are exploited under a capitalist system since they rightfully should be owner of production and resources since it was their labour that created them in the first place. Another conflict theorist named Antonio Gramsci explains how Bourgeoisie capitalists manage to maintain power despite exploiting a majority of society. He believes that elites control society by what is called ” Hegemonic Culture” in where ideals and societal norms are made to distract us from the economic injustice that plights us while making us believe that its normal by the off chance it is questioned.
According to Marx the only way to stop exploitation of workers is by having workers want to implement revolution overthrowing the bourgeoisie class creating a fair economic system like socialism or communism that benefits them creating bringing peace, justice, and stability for all of society. Wealth inequality is a major problem since others issues like hunger,poverty and lack of healthcare stem from this. In 2016, 62 of the richest people on earth had as much wealth than half of the world’s population, a total of 3,691,504,410 out of 7,383,008,820 (Oxfam | Press releases. 2016, January 18).
As a result 2 billion people across the world have to work for less than 2 dollars a day making it impossible for many of these impoverished human beings causing 1 billion people to suffer from chronic hunger despite the fact we have more than enough food to feed the entire planet and end world hunger at this very moment (Elver, H. 2015, February 19). Small groups of elite members within our world don’t even have to worry about their next meal while less fortunate people have to work all day just to get something to eat with many not being able to eat at all.
This shows that our world has become greedy and individualistic has become since most of human race justify it, don’t care, or are ignorant to the fact that so much people are suffering right now due to massive wealth inequality. Unfortunately, wealth inequality is only growing at a extremely fast rate with now only 8 people owning as much wealth than half of the world this year in 2017 (Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world. 2017, January 16). First world countries are not exempted from huge levels of wealth inequality despite being better developed than the rest of the world.
Income gains within America for 1% of the richest people in the country has increased by 200% over the last 3 decades, a bigger income gain than the bottom 99 % combined (Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer |, Karen Feldscher, Harvard Chan School Communications |, Liz Mineo, Harvard Staff Writer |, |, R. T., |, L.
B., & Jill Radsken, Harvard Staff Writer |. 2016, February 08). Money is going to the elite in America which creates a similar result of poverty that happens in the rest of our world. For example, Healthcare is not guaranteed as a human right in America and prices are heavily gouged by private insurance companies. Before the Affordable Care Act was implemented 45,000 american citizens were effectively dying each year due to lacking coverage and money to get the care they needed to survive (Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer |, |, B. M.
, Karen Feldscher, Harvard Chan School Communications |, Liz Mineo, Harvard Staff Writer |, |, R. T., |, L. B., . . .
David Cecere, Cambridge Health Alliance |. 2009, September 17). Deaths like these could have been avoided if the United States implemented a universal healthcare system using tax dollars gained from the high amount of wealth the 1% make. Despite the ACA slowing down healthcare deaths medical bankruptcies are still prevalent with 1 million going bankrupt from medical bills with many more struggling to pay for them. (Amadeo, K. 2017, November 27). Whenever there is a bigger amount of wealth inequality there is more starvation and death within a society so lowering it is necessary to prevent them from happening. Wealth Inequality and Conflict theory relate to one another since they both focus on distribution of resources within a society.
Conflict theorists would argue that wealth inequality shouldn’t exist and that all resources should be distributed equally. Conflict theorists would see the few elite who own most of the money and resources as the bourgeoisie as they do not work while have power. He would also see the billions of people who have to work for 2 dollars or less a day as the proletariat who are being exploited so that billionaires can have power over society. Finally Conflict theorists would believe the media and how they portray issues are part of hegemonic culture that divide and distract us from wealth inequality and exploitation. The entire basis of conflict theory is inspired by wealth inequality and how it created division and power struggles between classes. We can apply conflict theory with our modern societal issues that stem from wealth inequality. For example 51 % of americans make 30,000 dollars or less (Shriar, J. 2015, November 3), While the 0.
1 percent of americans own 90% of the wealth Monaghan, A. (2014, November 13). This shows two divisions of class with our elite can be considered “the bourgeoisie” while our middle class would be considered “the proletariat” within modern day standards. Starvation can be seen as unequal distribution of resources as our version of “bourgeoisie” have all the food they could have in their lifetimes while our “proletariat” starve and struggle when they don’t need to since their is food to go around for the entire world (Gimenez, E. H. 2012, May 02).
Finally under Richards Nixon’s administration the creation of the “War on Drugs” has distracted us for dealing with rising levels of wealth inequality for 50 years. A presidential aide for Nixon himself admitted that the war on drugs was created to bully political enemies to make society view marijuana smokers as lazy liberal hippies and blacks as dangerous drug using criminals allowing them to arrest civil rights leaders Walker US Correspondent, T. (2016, March 23).
This can be considered hegemonic culture since it has successfully distracted the working class by scapegoating civil rights leaders preventing them from bringing revolution and social change against the real issue with society which is wealth inequality. In conclusion, Conflict theory relates with many of the social issues we face. Wealth inequality has created many of them to begin with unregulated capitalism being perpetuating it to a level that has never been seen before in human history. We must fix capitalism as a whole to make it more just and fair for everyone.
To do this higher taxes must be placed on big businesses and billionaires making sure we use that money to social programs that help the middle class. A violent communist revolution won’t fix the problem we face as it is totalitarian in practice while leading to the deaths of millions.