Institutionalized Inequality: How to Change it.

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The world is reaching a change in culture that focuses way too much on gains and profits, and too little upon the human connection and ethics that we once shared as equal individuals. Money gives power, and power allows the elites to be indifferent about those they impact, as long as it generates profit. In this way, social inequality becomes institutionalized.

Social Inequality is the most dangerous feature of contemporary society catapulted by the progress of technology and need for profits.

Here is a basic example of how inequality occurs:

Long ago, people would grow food on a small scale, perhaps on their farm or backyard. As new technology is introduced, accumulation of this food becomes much more efficient. This efficiency would then be able to create surpluses. This surplus creates a power system that allows the ruthless and strong to accumulate resources, and forces others to live in want and dependency upon the rich. Together with capitalism, the primary social impact of most sophisticated technology is to widen the gap between rich and poor, employed and unemployed, and power and powerlessness.

How do we fix our broken system? The answer is simple, but the process is difficult. There are three misconceptions that I would like to bring to light.

The first one is that hunger is not caused by the lack of production; it is caused by unequal food distribution. We can feed the hungry if we would just distribute this food properly.

The second is that, there is nothing natural about technological process we see at work today. They are the product of human acts. They are cultural facts , which means they are under human control.

The third misconception is that I’d like to believe that wealthy companies are not meaningfully corrupt, they only act in ways to gain wealth, a natural social stratification caused by the human constructs of money and economics. Elites aren’t completely heartless, they’re just separated from us.

The greatest challenge, the most difficult truth to convey, and also the most important one, is that the welfare of the most powerful and privileged of people and the future of us all cannot be isolated from that of the poorest, most vulnerable, most wretched of the earth. These things can change, but only if they decide for it to.

It is in human nature that we should care for another. As anthropologists, we are not social engineers. Our paramount responsibility is to those we study. Culturally, we are different than the people we study, but as humans, we are the same. In this way, it is our responsibility to help one another.

This is why the Anthropologist is important. We think about the world as it is. We are not social engineers. We act for happiness not for profit because, at the end of the day, we are all on the same boat.

 

 

Citations:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/ahu.1980.5.1.2/pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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