The years of many generations have gone by, yet the lingering system of inequality remains and continues to trail history. ‘First came the Stone Age, when life was for the strong of arm or the fleet of foot. Then there was the Iron Age- and life was more precious, still the strong lorded it over the weak.
Later came the Golden Age, and riches took the place of strength- but the poor found little choice between the slave drivers’ whips of olden days and the grim weapons of poverty and starvation,’ Robert Collier, Late American author stated.
A word that comes to mind in explaining this peculiar class is ‘myopic’ as most of their seeming prestige was never a result of their doing but were privileged to come from a line of prominence or a favorable gender as the world seems to define it. Choices and decisions in this situation cannot be considered a factor as we do not decide on our skin color, families, or our gender.
Inequality will always remain a contention. While the world has been able to break through some of the imbalances that impeded societal development, there are yet a few more that linger and continue to hinder the growth of major sectors and industries in the society.
When we consider previous generations in their struggles and limitations prompted by inequality and the deeply rooted rigidity of systems that held millions bound while a few dominated, it would not be wrong to appreciate how far civilization has brought us over the years and the need to continue in the revolt against inequality.
History reveals that inequality has been in existence for thousands of years during the early age of complex social systems. Historians discovered that inequality began to take root at the start of agriculture and sedentism. Heredity inequality started in the Neolithic era which is said to be about 7,000 years ago. Past record has it that farmers buried with tools had access to better land when they were alive than those who weren’t buried with tools.
Over the past three decades, there has been a spike in income inequality in most developed countries. It was revealed in 2014 that the income share of the top one percent in the United States has risen to an average of 81 which in the 1980s stood at an average of 27.
The top one percent income share (of GDP) is nearly twice that of the bottom 50 percent. The world’s richest people in 2017 witnessed their assets rise by US$1 trillion.
The fight for equality is rising to become a tough and hard one. A recent report by McKinsey and Company has shown that by bridging the racial wealth gap created by systemic racism, the U.S. GDP could rise by 4-6% high in 2028. This depicts a clear picture of the huge costs of racism on a nation. There have been complaints about the wide wage gap of white workers to black workers.
Wage stagnation in America is no new matter as it had been since the 1970s and yet remains. Racism has denied most American citizens of obtaining high wages despite outstanding productivity. Voter’s preference for choice candidates is based on racial and cultural interests rather than economic interests.
The invisible restrictions and hindrances to the rise of women likewise persist. The system still adopts the preference of males over the female counterparts. Women are still excluded in some sectors such as technology and are not given full support to climb higher in society.
There are also male chauvinists heading industries who believe in the subordination of women. Skills and talents as we all know are not gender-specific. Impeding feminine progress has deprived the world of more than half of the global talent, this means more than 50% of skills are yet unexplored.
Our societies are operating below the average capacity. We have witnessed the exceptional talents and skills of the few active women who fought through the frigid system and made their way to the top. Their skills would have been buried like the million others if they chose not to fight their way through.
Evidence has also shown that women majorly suffer the effect of poverty and women empowerment is the primary requirement for poverty elimination. Gender inequality has suppressed human potential of which both sexes are affected. Gender equality is a necessity for the advancement of democracy, progress, and the human rights system to which the people are entitled to. Our constraints have been the result of our biases.
The issue of balance cannot be overlooked. What would happen if a woman who has the requisite skills and experience becomes president? what would happen if a black person in the United States and other racist nations encounters no limitation or barricades already set before their birth? How far will they go? What would happen if the youths in Nigeria are given the opportunity to be a part of leadership and are not considered a threat by their leaders? Is this too much to ask?
“If we seek to rebalance the current distribution of income and wealth in favor of greater equality, we cannot simply close our eyes to what it took to accomplish this goal in the past.
We need to ask whether great inequality has ever been alleviated without great violence, how more benign influences compare to the power of this Great Leveler, and whether the future is likely to be very different — even if we may not like the answers” Walter Scheidel, Historian at Stanford University, California stated.
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Let us not wonder at the daily rise in the poverty rate and the invisible barricades that continues to hinder the progress of thousands as the corrupt systems allow for it.
Inequality remains a plague in every country with no exception. Its torturing effects pervade society. Now more than ever, we will stand our ground in the fight against injustice just as in our hero’s past. We seek a solid structure founded on equity, honesty, and integrity.