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What is your impression about the news from countries in Africa like Nigeria and South Africa? Is it about crime rates or the skinny child who have to work instead of study at school? Have you ever thought about those who are suffering from hungry while you are complaining about the tasteless food provided by your mum? South Africa was ranked second in the richest African Countries in 2020 according to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) listed by World Population Review. Actually more than half of South Africa’s population is living in poverty and just earning about less than 83 dollars per month. But according to Forbes’ annual ranking of dollar billionaires in South Africa, Nicky Oppenheimer is the richest man in that country with a net worth of $7.3 billion US Dollar. From this, we can see that the economic inequality at South Africa is much serious than what we can imagine about. So starting from now, I hope that there is a thought in your mind that not every people in South Africa living in poverty, but actually there is a huge difference in the distribution of income. This economic inequality condition will getting worse when the richer is getting richer while the poorer is getting poorer.
A study conducted by a team of sociologists at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg in Germany claimed that countries which have higher economic inequality may have more social ills. This is because economic inequality may weaker the social bonds between people. Besides, Federico Cingano had stated in his working paper for OECD named Trends in Income Inequality and its Impact on Economic Growth that economic growth will fall with the rising of economic inequality. So we can’t neglect the statement that income disparity can brings bad effect to society as social ills can become a killer to the development of a country. Please do not hesitate to be aware of those negative impacts caused by economic inequality.
I’m going to make awareness on the negative effect brought by the income inequality which will increase crime rates, decrease educational level and health quality. So, I’ll start with the increasing of crime rates caused by economic inequality which everyone should be aware of.
First of all, the crime rates like property crime and violence crime will increase as the income inequality increase. This is because the poor who are living in unequal society may feel unfair and not resigned with the condition of the rich group and thus will lead them to involve in violent crime like ransom kidnapping. For example, a Malaysian businessman Datuk Seri R. Arumugam was reportedly kidnapped and his body was found on 27 June 2020. A ransom of S$50 million was demanded of his family. Mario Coccia from National Research Council of Italy had a research on the causes of violent crime and proved that income inequality is one of the sources of violent crime in human society. For an increase in the price of groceries by rich group, high social tension on poor group make them feel burden and thus will trigger the crime rates to grow.
The poor will suffer from competition in economic and this make them tend to use shortcut, which is property crime. In new research which examines property crime by Census block groups in three US cities, Neil Metz and Mariya Burdina find that the bigger the income difference among the poorest neighboring block group, the greater the level of property crime in the richer block groups. as the poor tends to steal from rich family. The property crime will become more serious when the rich people like to show off about their property. For example in a case reported by The Sun where a Portuguese rapper David Mota found tortured to death by burglars after sharing billionaire lifestyle on social media. This may directly attract the attention of the poor that they have opportunity to take on. Mostly property crime rates are due to the psychological imbalance on why they have but I don’t have.
The second: educational level can be affected by economic inequality as high income population can afford more opportunities than the poor. The wealthier family can invest more money to the education quality and even time on the children if compare to the low-income family. This happened because wealthier family are able to afford for a better quality of school serving with greater educational resources. A 2012 study published in the journal Demography, “Investing in Children: Changes in Parental Spending on Children, 1972-2007,” showed that the time and money invest on the children by family no matter rich or poor both increase sharply among both rich and poor family. But the investment of the high-income family on their children is two three times greater than the low-income family. The amount of high-income families spent on their children’s enrichment activities grew by 150 percent, while the amount spent by low-income families grew by 57 percent between 1972 and 2006 was found by economists Richard Murnane of Harvard University and Greg Duncan at the University of California-Irvine. Thus, from the research we can observe that the educational gap among high-income family children and low-income family children has become widen.
Children under high-income family can exposed to more extra activities to enhance their talent skills. For example, music class, sport activities and other extracurricular activities can help those children to gain more skills and experiences. This will bring advantages to them in the school performances as they can gain extra skills from co curricular activities like problem-solving skills, social skill, leadership and so on which is absent from the class syllabus. As a result, the educational gap increase as the rich students are increasingly entering kindergarten much better prepared to succeed in school than low income family students. This is shown by Sean F. Reardon in his book “Inequality in the 21st Century”.
From here we can see that not only have effect on the safety, but also in the educational level of children due to economic inequality. After this, I will proceed to the last negative impact on decreasing in health quality. Poor population tends to have lower quality health as the accessibility to quality health care and healthy food is limited. Wealthy group tend to have more time and money to invest in the health quality. For example, they can have healthier lifestyle and food intake than the low-income family. Wealthy family can have high quality of health care supplement like vitamin and calcium or even vegetables that we consume daily can be organic vegetables. They are even able to buy health insurance to give a guarantee to their health while there are some emergency disease or accident happen.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute found that people living in a society with high income inequality were more likely to die before the age of 75 than people in more equal communities, even the average income were the same. As the standard of living increase due to economic disparity, means high financial ability is needed to afford the high medical service. This will directly affect the life of the low-income family as they might not be able to afford the high medical cost. This is because the poor will have high probability to have a health problem than the rich. For example, from the pandemic covid-19, we can see that the rich tends to have more ability to make protection step than the poor while the price of a mask and sanitizer increase sharply. As we know, the price of a mask and sanitizer will increase is due to the high demand on it, and mostly was bought by the one who has better financial ability. But for low income family they only be able to buy mask and sanitizer with lower quality product.
As a conclusion, income disparity really can increase the crime rates. Furthermore, even educational level for a child can be affected due to the inequality problem. Lastly, we can’t deny also that high income inequality can bring effect on health as money really can give majority guarantee on health care.
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