An abundance of what?

One of the great challenges of the 21st century is to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. In fact, this has been the challenge for quite a while now.

Globalization and evolutions in technology (a phrase people must be sick of hearing by now) have resulted in an unprecedented level of information available. It seems that every variety of information is available to almost everybody these days, at the click of a mouse. No longer do we have to wait until the newspaper is printed to find things out. News sites on the internet have us covered on that front.

The number one rule of economics is that the easier goods are available, the less they are worth. Therefore, the sheer weight of news and information that is so easily available to us has decreased significantly in value. Thus, news and information is something that is no longer exclusive to certain people, but is available to everyone.

Clay Shirky (2014) has explored the idea that the world is becoming more and more a world of abundance, rather than scarcity. The pure fact that we are always increasing in numbers is a good enough reason to believe this notion. Using books, music and now media as examples, Shirky believes that we are in an age of increasing abundance, set to rise up against capitalism and maybe erode (not extinguish) inequality.

Thomas Piketty, the French economist, is of the opinion that despite technological advancements, inequality continues to rise. Piketty is fiercely against capitalism as a There are certainly statistics to back this. However, current statistics that measure things such as spread of wealth, unemployment etc. will always be biased by the ever increasing population rate, making it more and more difficult to decipher whether we are increasing or decreasing inequality.

It is my opinion that we are somewhere in between. I believe that there are certain items that technology and digital media have made more easily accessible and cheaper to a wider communities. I disagree that this means we are in an age of abundance, and I point to further evolutions in technology that will inevitably make these items obsolete.

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