In my last blog, I covered the Pareto Distribution and how it relates to the problems of inequality throughout nature. We left off with a critique of the Marxist view that Capitalism was to fault. And while I don’t deny that man-made structures can become corrupt and fueled by greed, we must be careful to address the problem for what it is. Inequality is a problem; it is. But it’s not capitalism or any other system’s fault – it’s something we don’t quite understand.
Many have attempted to remedy this problem by implementing higher taxes on the rich or enforcing programs that redistribute wealth – all of which have not produced the intended result, with some of these ‘solutions’ resulting in the death of untold millions. But many are researchers are looking at the Pareto Distribution and similar methods to see if there is a solution we can derive from the natural laws that are in place.
Work on Saving
Bikas Chakrabarti of the SINP and his colleagues are working on a method that paints a much less solemn prescription for the poor. His team worked with the gas model (mentioned in the previous blog) to help develop a plan that allows people to save more money. This model predicts both class models that Yakovenko found, and it. It also posits (but does not guarantee) that if you save more, you are more likely to end up rich. This research suggests that training people to save and spend money more responsibly (something that harkens back to the random spending habits of people) can help even out wealth distribution. While this model is far from perfect and has received criticism by many in the field, it is certainly a proper start on the road to assessing the problem of inequality from a scientific and thoroughly examined viewpoint.
In the end, it does in part come down the philanthropic work of individuals. As a free society, we cannot force people to engage in actions they do not wish to. If we can learn to foster a love for the people around us, then it’s certainly reasonable to assume that many people would be much better off. But we also need to move to a deeper understanding of helping people build a sustainable future for themselves. The adage, “Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime” is certainly true in this case. Working to instill dignity and self-respect in the people who stack up at zero is crucial for the betterment of all societies. It has proven toxic to force other people to give the ‘fish’ they worked so hard for to other people. Kindness must come from the heart, not from the legislative hand of so-called morality.
It’s true, we all have a part to play, but we must be honest with ourselves when we are unsure of what that part entails. We need to address the very real problem of inequality, but we also have to figure out smarter and more comprehensive ways to help and do away with the old murderous models of the 20th century. We need to find contentment in the fact that everything is not as it should be, but we are working to remedy that problem.