Nonfiction in response to Reduced Inequalities
October 2018

The Steps to Combat Income Inequality

By Amrita Bhasin

Whenever I visit India, I am always surprised to see mansions owned by Bollywood film stars located next to dilapidated houses. Not far, I can see the slums of India filled with makeshift houses so poorly constructed that look like they could easily fall apart.

It is bewildering to consider not even the income inequality between India and America but the inequality between parts of India itself. In the same way, because from an innovative town in California, it can be confusing to understand see a disparity in poverty when looking at other states or communities in America that are less wealthy.

A study by the University of California Berkeley found that “3 percent own 54.4 percent America's wealth, an increase of almost 45 percent since 1989 and the bottom 90 percent own only 24.7 percent.”

A first step we can do is to “empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status” (International Labor Organization). This is something the United Nations is looking to achieve as a part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This correlates to ending residential segregation in America, specifically. “Eliminating residential segregation by income and race can boost economic mobility for all” because “higher levels of racial residential segregation within a metropolitan region are strongly correlated with significantly reduced levels of intergenerational upward mobility for all residents of that area” (Berkeley.edu).

According to the same study, increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 would “help nearly 4.6 million people out of poverty and add approximately $2 billion to the nation's overall real income.”

Furthermore, there is work to be done in the area of tax reform. Implementing tax policies, not just in America but in the rest of the world, that encourage citizens to save money would enable more families to have emergency savings, education tuition and retirement funds.

In addition, research has shown that education can be a pathway out of poverty, so the more countries that invest in national education policies, the less income inequality we can expect to see globally.

Ultimately, there are many policies and actions countries can take to combat income inequality. It is a problem that inevitably stems from many social issues, but with the right steps, it can be alleviated.

2018 Actions in Spotlight

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