Inequality: Beyond money

The wealth gap is rising in areas around the world. The gini coefficient grows as fast as the bellies of our generation fed with over nutritious food. As much as hunger is still a problem, personally I think we need to get ahead of the curve and target the cause and not the symptom.

Two key things are holding people back from doing better (this is my personal viewpoint). The first is not having enough time and the second is lacking the knowledge and skills to improve. Those with money can outsource a lot of their menial and trivial tasks to others who need the money:

  1. Amazon mechanical turks
  3. This one truly takes the cake

This allows the folks with money to free up their time. This could be used constructively to pick up new skills or perhaps just recover from the mental torment of living in cities.

A second recurrence is the lack of skills that is impeding folks from finding higher quality work. (I would define this to be less mundane and higher cognitive value and derives higher meaning to life). This traps the person in an endless cycle of doing the same task that was outsourced to them but perhaps at different employers until the role ceases to exist due to market conditions or automation. One of the causes of the knowledge gap seems to be the increase of paywalls that prevent others from accessing knowledge. One of the biggest culprits would be the folks like IEEE or EBSCO who I really see no real value except to be a middle man. Personally I am glad for platforms such as researchgate or arvix that is helping to level the playing field of knowledge. A simpler example could be the different streaming services that show different content. Public televisions that allowed for information dissemination (and propaganda at times) is no longer able to keep up and give timely access to information to the public. Those who have timely access to information and those who do not fuels a very different inequality that will exacerbate our existing wealth imbalance conditions.

The story of taxation and spreading the wealth is good. It is giving the person a fish and helping to provide sustenance. However, I strongly believe we need to start tackling a growing inequality of time and knowledge. I think that stronger labor policies need to be in place to allow more free time for people to explore and learn. Basic income or minimally basic necessities should be provided such as food, clean water, a roof with sanitation, healthcare and high speed internet should be provided to all citizens.

With the increase in productivity over the decades, I am curious where has it gone and why can’t they be used to fund these basic necessities to allow us to enter a golden age together as a civilization?