Like cholesterol, there is a “good” and a “bad” kind of inequality, according to Francois Facchini, an economist at the University of Paris. The “good” kind is aspirational. It encourages people to strive toward success. The “bad” kind fosters disillusionment, a feeling that no matter how hard you work, you cannot win.
Today, too many of us are falling into the second category. This is what pollster John Zogby calls the “Dreamless Dead,” those who no longer believe in the existence of the American Dream of hard work begetting success. Those who work hard but fail to get ahead lose faith in the dream, he said. Beginning in the 1990s, Zogby noticed an increase in the percentage of people who said they were working in jobs that paid less than previous positions.
No society can sustain itself when the gap between those who have and those who have-not reaches a tipping point. regimes have fallen, civilizations have been destroyed, riots and looting have ensued throughout history as various empires and dynasties have crumbled. It’s in the best interest of the overall society to look out for “the least of these.”
In 2007, when the world was on the brink of financial crisis, U.S. income inequality hit its highest mark since 1928, just before the Great Depression. Coincidence? Maybe not.
In the early 1990s, 14 percent of those polled by Zogby said they were making less money than they had before. After the recession, the percentage had more than doubled.
It’s time to bring solutions to the table that address these economic chasms and divides. A new group of leaders, with ideas and the ability to execute must come to the forefront. I’m encouraged see this starting to happen with thing like the upcoming “Wealth Symposium” in Philadelphia featuring Stedman Graham. I’ll also be presenting a workshop on “Building Your Brand” during the event. If we begin to come together on a local to global basis – the people can empower ourselves. It may be our only choice.
What say you?