What are the effects of inequality and should the government do anything about it – Essay Example

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What are the effects of inequality and should the government do anything about it? (Essay) Britain, if viewed from an economic point of view, can beclassified as an unequal country. The economic inequality that prevails in the country for the last couple of generations is visibly higher than the other industrial countries of the world. The explicit manifestation of such an inequality is in the form of the wide gap between the haves and the have-nots. These inequalities in the economic status of people can be related to their defining characteristics such as age, gender and ethnicity. Numerous studies conducted by economists and researchers have analysed in details the trends in economic inequality in Britain and subsequently have revealed that “the richest 10% of the population are more than 100 times as wealthy as the poorest 10% of society”. (Gentleman and Mulholland, 2010). A report published by the National Equality Panel on ‘An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK’ has examined the extent to which inequality in the country has grown over the past three decades. It asserts that by the year 2007-08 the level of inequality in Britain had escalated to such heights that it had almost surpassed the one that was witnessed soon after the Second World War. The paper candidly explains how the Tories can be held accountable for this situation on account of the divisions carried out in the 1980s and 1990s. Though such a claim might offend the Labour government, it cannot be totally discarded as either baseless or invalid. (Hills, 2010). Economic inequality has detrimental effects on not only individuals but also the economy and the society as a whole. The individuals are deprived of their right to be treated fairly. They are robbed of the opportunities to achieve their goals and utilise their potential. It hampers the progress of an economy by plaguing it with prejudice and discrimination. It acts as an impediment in the future success of the economy by limiting its scope to draw on the talents of all participants. And lastly it harms the cohesive structure and the smooth functioning of the society by eliminating equity and uniformity which are the pillars of societal harmony. (Atkinson, 1983; Wilkinson, 2002). The adverse impact of inequality on the society and the economy make it a very crucial issue and make government’s intervention a necessity. According to Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality: “…the government needs to "sustain and step up" action introduced by government over the past 13 years, such as childrens centres and tax credits.” (Gentleman and Mulholland, 2010). The problem of economic equality is so deep-rooted that it becomes a very challenging task for even the government to deal with it. So the ideal way of tackling it would be to get at the roots of the issue. The policy makers should be given access to the much needed information that would help them to frame reformatory policies. Social mobility should be the prime focus of such policies and they should coherently work towards an economy where everyone gets a fair chance. References Hills, J. (2010). An anatomy of economic inequality in the UK: Report of the National Equality Panel. Retrieved from: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28344/1/CASEreport60.pdf Gentleman, A., & Mulholland, H. (2010). Unequal Britain: richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest. The Guardian, 27, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jan/27/unequal-britain-report Atkinson, A. B. (1983). The economics of inequality. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Wilkinson, R. G. (2002). Unhealthy societies: the afflictions of inequality. Routledge.

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