Economicinequality and Gentrification
Currently,economic inequality has developed into an epic height in the UnitedStates with so many Americans living in poverty. According to Westand Smiley, before the recession, about 37 million people were livingin poverty (64). Very recent studies indicate that more than 14million American are unemployed while millions remain underemployed.Researchers argue that economic inequality go hand in hand withgentrification. Gentrification denotes the development of urbancenters dominated by the rich investors, which displace the low andmoderate-income residents. Presently, the world has seen a wideningeconomic inequality gap with the rich residing in urban areas and thepoor seeking settlement in low-income residential areas.
Causesof the problem
Themain question arising is the main causes of the widening gap betweenthe rich and the poor. One of the causes of this widening gap is thedwindling wages workers are getting from employers who put theirprofits ahead of workers. Due to globalization, U.S. companies mustcompete with the lower-priced Chinese and Indian companies who paytheir workers minimal wages in order to maximize their profits. Oneof the ways to compete with these Chinese companies, U.S.corporations are offering minimal salaries to their employees whofind it difficult to meet all their basic needs. The other strategythat the U.S. companies are employing to remain at the top of thecompetition is by outsourcing their high-tech and manufacturingcareers overseas. This move has seen thousands of U.S. citizens lackemployment opportunities hence raising the rates of unemployment,which is one of the main causes of economic inequality among people.
Anothermajor cause of economic inequality in many countries and especiallyin the U.S. is corruption. Corruption has made the rich and thepowerful richer while making the poor poorer hence widening this gap.Corruption leads to inequality in resource distribution. West andSmiley points out that the resources, which are supposed to be sharedamong the physically challenged and the rich and those in power sharepoor. The government, through corrupt leaders, implements policiesthat allow embezzlement of public funds by the rich few hence makingthe poor people who should benefit these funds poorer. One of thegreatest causes of gentrification is the availability of socialamenities. Social conveniences, for instance, energy, water, decentschools, and security are all available within major towns.Therefore, the rich people who can afford the high cost of living inthese towns are displacing the low-income earners who are seeingalternative cheaper settlements in low social, economic residents.
Solutionsto the problem
Accordingto West and Smiley, one of the strategies to ensure the widening gapbetween the richer and the poorer is reducing is by putting an end togentrification (64). When governments come up with policies thatensure equal distribution of resources as well as endowment ofmarginalized areas with social facilities, then the rich investorswill invest in these places hence develop them. Government shouldalso implement policies, which ensure that there is total intoleranceto corruption. When corruption is put to an end, policies will beimplemented which will ensure equal opportunities for every citizen.Conclusively, it is important to point that, in order to close thiswidening gap, there should be recuperative policies to reverse thepast injustices.
West,Cornel, and Tavis Smiley. “Chapter 2: Poverty of Opportunity.” InThe Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. (2012).