The Problem Of Inequalities In The United States: Social Inequality And Well-Being

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After the 2008-2009 recession, we can see that the United States is now the country with the most inequalities in several areas such as social inequality and well-being. Previously, the United States was an example for other countries around the world. From now on, they must absolutely solve the problem of inequalities that are harmful to the country’s development. Leaving such situations is unthinkable for the future. It would be totally unethical not to act.

Michael Norton and Dan Ariely of Harvard Business School in 2011, conducted a survey on inequality in the United States to find out what people really thought about disparities. This study revealed that the population underestimated the current situation. Today in 2019, the richest 1% hold nearly 50% of the country’s heritage.

This shows that the richest have a dominant position compared to the disadvantaged. This example shows us the existence of differences between the population. Such gaps still present in 2019 show us that much remains to be done if the United States is to regain its nobility for the whole world. This research paper will illustrate the omnipresent inequalities of the USA that hinder the economic development of such a power.

However, people who are favoured by their high income have allowed us to discover certain products or services. Indeed, let us take as an example the mobile phone which was considered a luxury product whereas 30 years after its commercialization it has become a product almost accessible to all. While it is true that the income inequalities should not be so pronounced, it is essential not to ignore the fact that income inequalities allow our development and have an important place in our evolution. Income inequalities have led to many changes that are now beneficial to everybody.

This paper will demonstrate three factors of inequality in the US. First of all, we will see that social class inequality is reinforced by race and gender discrimination that is usual in the US before turning to social class inequalities are pressured by one’s family situation and reputation, and the stereotypes that come with it. Finally, the report will describe that social class inequality is based on income.

Income inequality is a positive finding for the entire American population when it comes to a free market economy. Indeed, we have the possibility to take our destiny in hand according to our personal skills and aspirations. We have the great luxury of choosing our path of work or not, high income or not and in our chosen field. To the extent that each individual is different, each individual’s choices will inevitably lead to inequalities.

This free will to choose one’s own life allows us to accept these inequalities without causing suffering in us, quite the contrary, we even find them normal. The free market economy will allow the less wealthy to acquire products that were exclusively reserved for the rich until a few years ago. Indeed, fortunately, a large number of the wealthiest people were able to acquire these very expensive products in order to allow them to be marketed a few years later, at much more affordable prices. This was mainly true for Hi-Tech products such as mobile phones or excessively expensive flat screens, and then years later, there was a dramatic drop in the prices of these same products. If we think about it carefully, we realize that many consumer products have experienced the same phenomenon: microwave ovens, washing machines, dishwashers, coffee makers… these examples of consumer products were once considered luxury products, even external signs of wealth, whereas today, we can say that even the most modest households have them.

We must therefore be satisfied with these income inequalities, which ultimately allow the richest to be able to afford the products of their choice at any price, but also promote access to certain products for the most disadvantaged. Therefore, let us not be jealous of the richest, on the contrary, let us leave room for these income inequalities, which can ultimately bring happiness to the entire American population.

Although the United States has come a long way since the days of slavery and enormous progress was made to provide equal rights on the basis of race in the 1960s, racism remains a very critical issue in the United States. The United States is still being talked about in terms of racial or gender discrimination. Based on the article ‘The war against the poor instead of programs to end poverty. ‘1992, Herbert J. Ganz says ‘blacks’ troubles and misbehavior are caused more by poverty than by race’ he explains the discrimination made to black people is made because of criminalities coming from black people that are more elevated than those from white people. Herbert J. Gans discusses racial discrimination, there are numerous inequalities that are made because of antecedents, that is, problems caused by black people in the past, and which sometimes explain that today, our thoughts or writings result from a too hasty and not objective analysis of the facts

It is true that many black Americans have been responsible for a large number of violations and that their reputation has obviously been damaged. This bad reputation has created stereotypes imposed on innocent people which, unfortunately for them, has only hindered or even prevented them from having a normal life.

This history has made it impossible for the African-American community to reach positions of high responsibility, which would have allowed them to own property, finance education for their children, and provide them with a good education that teaches them respect, manners and a taste for work. Unfortunately, their lives are quite the opposite for a large majority of them. Their daily lives are even filled with discrimination that is done in a subtle or direct way. It is not uncommon for blacks to face discriminatory thoughts. In order to stop these racial discriminations, personalities such as Oprah Winfrey are fighting and mobilizing to stop judging a person first by their skin colour. It is necessary that as many black people as possible fight for freedom and to put an end to all these prejudices about black people. The best example that has been synonymous with success and hope for black people is Barack Obama. His election was such a revolution among Americans both on the side of his political ideas but especially because he was the first black president of the United States. This postponement cannot continue without mentioning the Latin American community, which has experienced many problems concerning unemployment or even loss of income. We can see that the same phenomenon is happening among African Americans. Since the beginning of the Great Recession, there has been a dramatic increase in unemployment and loss of income.

According to TED data: The economics Daily, ‘The Editor’s Desk is updated each business day.’ (2011), the annual unemployment rate is 16% for Blacks in 2010 and 2011. This increase in unemployment for blacks is due to an escalation of failures: the lack of a diploma makes it difficult to find a job or even to hope in the company’s hierarchy. About 50% of unemployed Blacks were unemployed for more than six months in 2011, the highest long-term unemployment rate among racial/ethnic groups. In addition, many racial discriminations also show a great lack of care, health care. From the article ‘Us: Country of inequalities’ (2016) written V. Campos, who says that life expectancy depends first and foremost on the race and ethnicity of residents, which can vary up to 30 years depending on the level of poverty, i.e. the person’s social class.

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Indeed, according to a study by the Brooklyn institution, the gap is becoming increasingly large.

The United States ranks in the top countries with the lowest life expectancy in the world: according to an OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) report published in 2014, it was 78.7 years in 2012, 27th out of 34 industrialized democracies in the group. Inequality begins at the birth of African-American people, or the poor. Being born black is almost perceived by society as a handicap. Despite some provisions, there are still many disparities, for example in the field of health. Indeed, health care costs are far too high for most of them in relation to their low income.

And for those who have no income, society does not offer them a solution to heal themselves and therefore to live. It seems to us to be very clear that health should be treated equally in the eyes of all, but because of their origin, there are discriminations and a different consideration towards them. Surprisingly, the United States spends an average of $9,000 per person on health care, which represents more than 17% of the gross domestic product. (At least 50% more than in any other country). However, many other countries see much better results in the overall health status of their citizens. African Americans expect above all else, affordable social security coverage that allows for the minimum amount of care in order to live a decent life. Ichiro Kawachi also says: ‘It is not only a question of racial disparities. At the root of all this is inequality of economic opportunity and inequality of education.’

Finally, regarding the job application, an experiment conducted in Chicago and Boston in 2001 and 2002 showed that resumes with ‘white sounding’ names, whether male or female, were much more likely to be recalled for interviews than those with ‘black sounding’ names (even if the resumes were otherwise identical). This is why, even in France, many recruitments are based on anonymous CVs in order to avoid any discrimination whatsoever: racial, religious…

Transition

The article ‘The psychology of social class: How socioeconomic status impacts thought, feelings, and behavior.’ (2018), written by Anthony S. R. Manstead shows that the nature of a person’s living conditions will determine their future. Indeed, it can be seen that in most cases, if a person lives, from birth, in excellent material and family conditions and in a high social environment, he or she will have much more intellectual and financial capacities to study in the best schools and then, in a second phase, this will enable him or her to obtain a profession with a very favourable income.

Based on the article ‘Extending the concept of stereotype threat to social class: The intellectual underperformance of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.’ Written by Croizet, J. C., & Claire, T. (1998), students from poor families perform less well than other students in their intellectual tasks.

This can be explained by the fact that living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in disqualified families would mean that, from an early age, children would have no role models. Unfortunately, parents often have very low-income jobs such as cleaning lady, workers…. Parents, too, have not been fortunate enough to have parents who have been socially successful and therefore do not know how to teach their children.

But even if they wanted to, they would not have the financial capacity to push their children towards success… The other problem, which is more of a psychological nature, and which slows down these poor populations and leads them towards failure: these are stereotypes! Indeed, we tend to classify people into social categories. Unfortunately, prejudice shows that we often think that poor people cannot succeed socially. It is true that the wealthier population often makes disadvantaged people feel this psychological burden. As a result, those who have lived in very poor conditions since childhood consciously or unconsciously believe that it is impossible to succeed in life and live it as a matter of course. However, when the test was presented as not diagnostic of intellectual abilities, the performance of low-income participants did not suffer, challenging allegations of income differences in intellectual abilities. This shows that the psychological effect is strong and has an impact on their thinking. The poor are followed by negative thoughts that impact their daily lives. Moreover, the place of stereotypes is so strong that it can influence people’s choices. According to the article, people belonging to the working class are unconsciously pushed back by the more intellectual professions because they lose out in advance as if they deduce that, because of their background, they will be less likely to be selected. We can talk about emotional pressure that prevents people from shining and evolving as they wish. They close themselves up in their social categories and do not decide to leave them. It is clear that differences in identity, cognition, feelings and behaviour between social classes make it more difficult for populations belonging to the most disadvantaged classes to receive financial assistance for the education of young people and professionals for adults, which would make it possible to improve their living conditions both materially, financially and also in terms of family. This is why it is necessary for political leaders to take all these inequalities into consideration in order to provide them with financial aid that would be used to create associations for young people to provide them with school, sports and educational assistance… If a real political plan were put in place for these disadvantaged populations, we would start life on an equal footing, which would allow a large number of underprivileged people to pursue a long-term education and therefore have a profession with a high income. This would also allow them to have access to high-end products or services. One can also talk about a problem of immorality; the poor are seen in a different way than other social classes.

They receive many accusations and lots of people compare them with criminals or murderers it is kind of discrimination compared to others. Just because they are poor do not mean that they are bad for society. However, this ‘persecution’ of the poor does not advance the problems of unemployment and it will not solve the financial situation.

In the United States, health inequality is linked to income inequality. Research has shown that the higher your income, the better your health.

‘The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, at least in the United States.’ According to a new document published by the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank in Washington, D.C., the 1% of high-income families earned on average 26.3 times more than the 99% of people in low-income in 2015, which has increased since 2013.This shows that income disparities have risen in almost every state. In the United States, in order to show and explain the income gaps, a family would have to earn $421,926 in before-tax dollars in order to be in the lowest paid group of people.

As seen before, it is difficult to get out of a situation of poverty because of immoral people who see the poor as unworthy people. The country has nevertheless made provisions for the middle class, but job offers, and housing are reduced, which will lead to an increase in poverty. There is an unethical side of society. The goal would be a country where everyone has safe streets, schools and public transport and a healthy environment in all districts as we saw in the article called ‘A Great Time to Be Alive?’ written Iglesias, M. (2010). In addition, concerning the wage inequalities between men and women in the USA, the gap remains very large. According to a study by the Pew Research Center from the article ‘The narrowing, but persist, gender gap in pay’ (2018) by N. Graf, A. Brown and E. Patten, for women’s wages to be equivalent to men’s, 39 more hours would be required. Education, occupational segregation and work experience are factors that have caused such a difference between men and women. The narrowing of the gap is largely due to the gains made by women in each of these dimensions. Women fight again and again to fight against its discrimination. Many women have become leaders, with high responsibilities that prove that every woman is as capable as a man of assuming and running a business. We can mention Angela Merkel who is seen as one of the most powerful women in the world. Also, Sheryl Sandberg who is the COO of Facebook and so many other women who are synonymous with influence and power in this world.

To conclude, this report shows many income inequalities that are the trigger for several inequalities such as education and health care. Income inequality between men and women is an important issue, in 2019, many are fighting to reduce this phenomenon in companies.

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The Problem Of Inequalities In The United States: Social Inequality And Well-Being. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-problem-of-inequalities-in-the-united-states-social-inequality-and-well-being/
“The Problem Of Inequalities In The United States: Social Inequality And Well-Being.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-problem-of-inequalities-in-the-united-states-social-inequality-and-well-being/
The Problem Of Inequalities In The United States: Social Inequality And Well-Being. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-problem-of-inequalities-in-the-united-states-social-inequality-and-well-being/> [Accessed 21 May 2022].
The Problem Of Inequalities In The United States: Social Inequality And Well-Being [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2022 May 21]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-problem-of-inequalities-in-the-united-states-social-inequality-and-well-being/
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