The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting richer at a much slower rate. So what's the cause for concern? What's important is that everybody including those on the bottom rung of the ladder have their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, clean water, adequate sewage system and access to health care met. This is true for most people in developed countries. Most poor people have a car, a TV and a washer and dryer. So what if the rich have million dollar toys like yachts and jets, and live in 15,000 square foot houses.
The problem is that a lot of people in the world don't even have their basic needs, as enumerated above, met. They are the ones living in poverty. They are off the radar screen when it comes to measuring income inequality. So what can be done to help these people? It falls to governments and private charities to come up with programs to help those truly living in poverty. Some countries siphon off surplus wealth from the rich and recycle it to help the poor thus producing a nation with less inequality than those nations where taxes are low and the economic policy is relatively laissez-faire.
A rich nation should at least provide a platform below which no one can fall economically. In the US this is more or less provided by a hodge podge of public and private programs. In a more rational country, there would be a basic guarantee of human rights that could be stated in one paragraph. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was an attempt to define what each citizen in a civilized country was entitled to. This makes sense. The basics should be guaranteed. Beyond that the "toys" should be the rewards of the "producers." However, many of the producers control the levers of power and are not interested in providing a basic standard of living for everyone. Some of them are philanthropic, however, and have provided millions if not billions of dollars for charitable purposes.
A good example of the "hodge podge" approach to providing basic needs is the new Medicare drug benefit in the US. Written by the drug companies, it treats seniors as children with a bewildering array of confusing choices and penalties. For instance, if you don't sign up within a 3 month period, you pay a penalty of higher premiums when you do sign up. What kind of ridiculous "discipline" mechanism is that? All the confusion has a purpose though. The purpose is to allow multiple outs for the drug companies and multiple opportunities to raise prices. Of questionable benefit to seniors, the Medicare Part D coverage was designed by drug companies in the interests of drug companies.
The truly poor will not be helped by this program. They probably do not have the intellectual ability to wade through the confusion and make a rational choice in their own self-interest. This is precisely what the drug companies are counting on. So poverty will continue.
The growing income gap between the middle class and the rich is of no concern. The rich will have more expensive toys and the middle class will have less expensive toys. What concerns me is the growing gap between the world's haves and the world's have-nots.
California Free Press