This little dilemma demonstrates very nicely why I’m not interested in the gap between “rich” and “poor”.
You have a button in front of you, placed there by a helpful genie. But instead of giving you the standard three wishes (and why doesn’t anybody ever wish for ten wishes?), the genie has limited your options.
If you push the button, the real income of all the “have-nots” in the world will double overnight.
Their health care will be twice as good as it is now, their disposable income will be twice as large, their houses will be twice as nice, and so on. But another consequence of pushing this button will also be the fact that the “haves” will see their prosperity increase ten-fold. They will all be ten times richer, thus enabling them to swank around all day.
To spell it out, this means that the divide between the rich and poor will widen, but will do so in a way that leaves the poor undeniably better off.
Fact is that rich people tend to have the resources and skills to maintain and grow their wealth. So it can hardly surprise us that the rich get richer.
The real issue is how poor are the poor. Can they afford food? Can they afford housing? Can they afford sanitation? But most importantly, can they make a path out of poverty?
The reality is that the poor actually are, in the long run, getting richer. Some years they get richer, and this statistic is mumbled or hidden. Some years they don’t, and the statistic is shouted from the rooftops.
Which is precisely why I have a category called “good new to ignore”.
The easiest way to close the gap between rich and poor is to make the rich poorer but that wouldn’t necessarily improve the lot of the poor.
You are right, it’s not the gap between the rich and poor but how poor the poor are which matters.
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