Social inequality is an issue that has been ever present throughout the history of mankind. From the early ages of humanity, the law of the jungle has ruled over civilizations in different types and forms. As far back as the Stone Age, social inequality was observed through the strongest hunter ruling the group and getting privileges accordingly. Fast forward to the Feudal system whereby the selected few owned the means of production and lived in luxury, leaving the rest of their society impoverished and in anguish. Even in the 21st century, social inequality seems to be deep-rooted into our existence.
The richest 10% own approximately 40% of the wealth, income inequality is on the rise in developing countries, and The World Economic Forum claims closing the gender gap in terms of salary and employment would take 217 years. For every dollar in tax revenue, it is estimated that only 4 cents is paid by the wealthy, while in some countries the poorest 10% pay more taxes than the wealthiest 10%. 262 million children do not have access to education, and 10,000 people die every day as a result of inaccessible healthcare.
These are just a few examples of how social inequality affects us today, and specifically the most vulnerable. Despite the fact that these issues are often politicized for personal gains, they are far more than a left-right feud by any means; every person is entitled to basic human rights without having to pay in order to access them. It is easy to say healthcare is a privilege when you have healthcare, easy to say that education is a privilege when you can afford one, and easy to say that gender inequality is not an important issue when you have not seen how it is curbing rights or are suffering because of it. We are only as good as our actions, and if we remain inactive, future generations will look back at us in discontent just as we look down on racist people who fought against the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. Future generations will look back at us as we look down on those that have degraded, dehumanized, and preformed genocide on innocent people. If we do not act, we will merely become yet another dark memory in the history of humankind.
There are several positives to reducing inequalities; to those suffering from its effects, to those affected by it consequences, and even to those causing them. In my next 3 blog posts, I will be discussing three main aspects to reducing inequality; how it will bring stability to the world, how it will promote a fair and merit-based world, and how it is directly linked to achieving all the other SDGs.
About the author: Jad Bou Saleh is an International Affairs and Diplomacy student at Notre Dame University-Louaize. He is currently working as Research Officer for Crossing Borders Lebanon and is a facilitator for the school services programs.