Short editorial article in answer to question posed in Virmani Foundation promotional newsletter.
David Dean Ellis LL.M MBA BA
Why is wealth inequality a problem?
Wealth inequality is a problem mainly because it encourages psychopathology in individuals at both ends of the social spectrum and is not simply an economic issue.
For many individuals who are wealthy, this pathology manifests itself as a need to maintain and create more wealth as it becomes tied to their sense of identity. Crimes of greed such as tax evasion are born out of the insecurity of loss of wealth.
For the less wealthy, the struggle to become “rich” often comes at the expense of their physical, moral and psychological well-being and a society is only as strong as its weakest citizen.
For both groups, their perception is of a struggle in a world of limited resources, and the need to acquire them in order to be happy creates stress and social anxiety. In such a situation, society becomes sick as citizens become hyper-focused on self-actualization through wealth creation, breeding a culture of opportunism, distrust of “others” and exploitation.
The major social support institutions such as the education system, loses substance and purpose as individuals race for qualifications to gain access to high paying jobs as opposed to concentrating on gaining knowledge for the creation of a better community.
Finally, it goes without saying that the “spiritual” identity of man is inherently related to how he interacts with “mankind” and his environment. Becoming hyper-focused on wealth as a path to self-actualization is to deny community mindedness and to embrace division as a society.