Social Inequality appears in a society when resources are not evenly allocated between different social groups. The inequalities can occur on different dimensions of the society, creating differences between individuals and their chances of reaching a certain standard or quality of lives.
Economic Inequality, that is mostly measured by inequality in wealth or income, is one of the main types of inequality that occurs and produces other unfair resource distribution in a society. In the other hand, social and natural resources are also unevenly distributed in many economies, that leads to differences in social status. Money is power, being wealthy makes you powerful in a society, this can create inequal distribution of rights, privileges, social power, the access to public services and goods, better education, judicial system, transportation benefits, banking and financial services, insurance and other social services.
While many societies worldwide hold that their resources are distributed on the basis of merit, research shows that the distribution of resources often follows guidelines that distinguish different social categories of persons on the basis of other socially defined characteristics. For example, social inequality is linked to racial inequality, gender inequality, and ethnic inequality as well as other status characteristics.Source
What is really understand to see is the fact that in many societies worldwide 99% on the country’s wealth is in the hand of the richest 1%. That’s a pretty huge gap! Isn’t? The thing is that world wide the situation is quite similar, the richest 2% owns 98% of the world’s wealth. The following video illustrates this very well.
What happens when a country has high income inequality? If the division of wealth sees a small group of people holding the majority of a nation’s capital, the balance of power is skewed; the lower and middle classes have access to less capital, fewer resources and – consequently – a low chance of breaking out of the cycle of poverty. Income inequality is quantified via the Gini coefficient – where 0 is a state of absolute equality, when everyone holds the same amount of wealth, and 1 is absolute inequality, when 1 person holds all the wealth. Every country will fall between these two extremes; and some well-developed countries are (perhaps surprisingly) far from the 0 mark.
By one of the last studies the ten most economically inequal countries are Japan(0.336), Greece(0.337), Spain(0.338), United Kingdom(0.341), Portugal(0.344), Israel(0.376), United States(0.38),Turkey(0.411), Mexico(0.466), Chile(0.501).
The inequalities in income and wealth can lead to other inequalities in society. Inequalities in health can occur, when one is leaving in a society, when the health services are privatized, like the USA.
Health inequalities are in many cases related to access to health care.In industrialized nations, health inequalities are most prevalent in countries that have not implemented a universal health care system, such as the United States. Because the US health care system is heavily privatized, access to health care is dependent upon one’s economic capital; Health care is not a right, it is a commodity that can be purchased through private insurance companies (or that is sometimes provided through an employer). The way health care is organized in the U.S. contributes to health inequalities based on gender, socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity.
In this context, the individuals with a higher income, will always have the better access to good quality private health care, when the ones that cannot afford it will never have the same chances.
Even within a country with a standardized public healthcare system, the riches might get a better health care, having the possibility to choose between institutions, and skip the free service in favor of a better private one, if they will. While the low income individuals, have no other choice than accepting what they ended up with.
I will leave this article with an open end and with a question: What do you think which are the main factors of social inequality in Romania?or in the world?