MathJax example

On inequality...

“To the victim, the assailant and the third person who did nothing are the same”

I can go out in the evening for a care-free stroll with friends, share a few laughs, eat/drink something fancy somewhere fancy, go back home with the care-free mind for a warm dinner that awaits me in the warmth of my home. Same is not true for the old lady who sits on the corner of the street we walk care-free, begging for money. Or the 8-year old boy, holding a 3-year old begging for money. Or the man waiting for a customer to ask him to carry their luggage for them to their home for a one-time meal worth of money. Or the countless others around the world.

But what is the fundamental difference between them and me? We’re part of the same society, nationals of the same country. I didn’t have to beg as an 8-year old. So my initial state of being was well-off. Then it’s probably because my parents were well off too. Maybe that’s always been the case higher up the generation, us being well off. We were born privileged. Luck. If not, then maybe our family got up from poverty at some point. Maybe it was hard work. You get paid for work in a sovereign government. You get paid more for more work. Maybe parents of people who are not so well off did not work hard or work at all. Maybe that is it. Maybe that is why I or all others, the people who are well off, do not give the poor old lady or the poor kid the help and assistance they need, whether it be monetary help or something else, because our parents worked hard and we will work hard to earn money for the conveniences of care-free minds, warm dinner and home. Because we put energy into hard work. We’re biological beings trying to sustain ourselves. We put in energy to obtain money which we can exchange for other conveniences. Worked hard all year long. There were some initial means required to get going around working hard, but we had those somehow, and we worked hard. Buying conveniences is our right. Consumerism is our right. After that, we have little to share. And all this time, the poor old lady, the poor kid, and the countless other poor people did not put energy into hard work. They just sit there asking. And we have little to share. There are people up the capitalist order who have more to share. They are the ones who should share. Or maybe if we all share a little, we can help the poor old lady and the poor kid and the countless other poor people enough to bring them to give them the initial means required to start working hard. Maybe this would do away with the inequality. But this sounds familiar. This sounds like something Marx came up with about 200 years ago. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. 200 years later no one knows how to go about doing it. People who put in more energy would expect more. And if everyone goes about putting in equal energy, productivity would stagnate. Everyone would have less. Maybe people’s nature can be changed at biological level. Maybe not. Likely not. Bringing in human personality into the picture with utopian ideologies convolutes the latter for we do not understand the former. Capitalism has been effective. More and more are becoming richer who were well-off. Just the poor lot remain poor. Maybe it is okay for some to remain poor. Maybe the poor would become well-off when we have more. But we do have more. And it has been 200 years. Maybe it is not so straight-forward. It is not.

The CEO of a huge shoe brand might have had a genuine dream of just selling the best shoes. To go about making his business viable and then profitable, he outsources the production. He does achieve fame and wealth. But also, he does deliver the best shoes. And also, he does end up using earth’s natural resources. He does end up having 10 other competitors trying to outsell him. They do end up using more of earth’s resources. People do end having myriads of choices when they go out to buy the best shoe for them. They do end up polluting when their discarded shoes were not recycled but dumped away somewhere. People to whom the production was outsources did overwork, overtime in poor conditions. So what went wrong?

It does not have to be black or white. And more importantly, human personality needs to be understood, individualism needs to be understood, understood in terms of biology, and how it fits into the dynamics of the political and economic system. It is a complex closed cycle after all.

A good start would be cultivating needs at the top of Maslow’s pyramid of needs rather than bottom, all the while modeling human behavior as that individuals would innately, first and foremost do everything to sustain themselves and their family unless taught otherwise through experiences.