Evidently I’m not the only one who’s seeing what’s happening. I’ve been writing for years about how we’re approaching a volatile social situation due to the tension between those with and those without. My essay called “A Future Divided” loosely handles a number of scenarios along these lines, and a recent report from the U.N. just comes out and states it.
High levels of inequality can lead to negative social, economic and political consequences that have a destabilising effect on societies,” said the report. “[They] create social and political fractures that can develop into social unrest and insecurity.
The report goes on to talk about how race is a major factor in the inequality in U.S. cities, giving the example of New York as the 9th most unequal city in the world:
In western New York state nearly 40% of the black, Hispanic and mixed-race households earned less than $15,000 compared with 15% of white households. The life expectancy of African-Americans in the US is about the same as that of people living in China and some states of India, despite the fact that the US is far richer than the other two countries.
I find it very odd that the Upper West Side in NYC is full of some of the richest people in the world, and yet it’s surrounded by what equate to third world nations. Walking around in Queens you can feel it. The place is completely run down, people don’t trust each other, and it seems most are struggling just to survive. People are not happy, and the fact that the super-rich are a “stone’s throw” away is catastrophe with a lot of potential energy.
To continue to ignore this is completely asinine. The only solution is to lift everyone and eliminate the massive levels of inequality. We have to take all steps necessary to stop creating more pain in the world; it only magnifies at an exponential rate. In short, the strategy of the elite to isolate themselves from the poor is not a strategy–just ask the French.
[ Feb 20, 2009 ]