IF THE equator divides the northern and southern hemisphere; inequality divides the affluent, privileged and the wealthy from the global poor. Money, property and influence will definitely bring you a long way in this world. It can be used to materialize success and to actualize one’s aspirations. While some got their wealth from working tedious hours in the workplace, others won it by virtue of the birth lottery. The lack thereof can also be a product of inefficient government systems that fail to provide basic welfare to its people. This systemic poverty has been existing for quite a long time now even before Karl Marx premised Marxism. The question now is: “Will the global poor ever be free from the shackles that continuously oppress them?”
All across the globe, the regression of socio-economic development is prevalent. Children in underdeveloped states, for instance, opt into child labor instead of going to school to seek education. Minimum wage workers in corporations suffer from “contractualization.” Even in times of desperate measures, people would willingly accept cheap labor where safe working conditions are compromised just so that they can provide food on the table. Many more scenarios will disprove the notion that working hard is the key to success. For some, no matter how hard they work, for as long as these circumstances exist, the poor will get poorer and the rich will get richer.
Socio-economic inequality is more than just an imbalance of rights and unequal distribution of income and opportunity. It is a form of exploitation to the marginalized. It is robbing the global poor of the opportunity to live a comfortable life. A life that every human being deserves more than ever. Socio-economic inequality creates a demarcation line that separates the privileged from the underprivileged. It even leads to discrimination since selected opportunities such as education, health care and commodities are only available to those who have the big bucks. The worst part is generations have already suffered from this cycle and even fear that their children’s children will experience the same.
The trade-off for being poor is the ability to live a decent life. A life where we don’t have to worry whether we can still eat the next day’s meal or the week after that. A life where parents wouldn’t look at education as a substandard choice. Perhaps this is the world where wealth wouldn’t be monopolized by the richest 1%. This is a world with more sustainable options and opportunities for not only the poor but also the poorest of the poor.
The international community did not turn a blind eye to these pressing issues. Initiatives like the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were born from the need to address and alleviate human sufferings like economic inequality. However, this agenda can only be achieved with a united global front that would fight against all the outlets that allow inequality to exist. As people belonging to the same humanity, we need to strengthen our alliance against greedy corporations who treat their workers inhumanely. Governments should also check if employers are providing the adequate benefits such as medical plans for their employees. Investment in education is also paramount in providing people the knowledge that will equip them to face different challenges. As a whole, options should be designed in such a way that people can stand up on their own for a longer period of time. Where basic needs are looked at as rights and not privileges for those who can afford it.
The global poor needs the global collective effort and it is our social responsibility to heed their call. For as long as there is a gap, we need to exhaust all our efforts in order to bridge that disparity.