TED Conversations

Rhome Balmeo

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

How do we lessen the gap between the rich and the poor?

Economic and social disparity is quite apparent in third world countries such as the Philippines. We hear that education is the key to a better future and may perhaps shorten that gap between the rich and the poor. We see however, men and women who are school drop outs but became completely successful in business and other lucrative fields. Thus, aside from education, what is there that can contribute to the alleviation of poverty? Is there anything cultural, psychological, philosophical or whatever factor that makes the rich become richer, and the poor become poorer? How do we lessen this gap between the rich and the poor?

+5
Share:
progress indicator
  • Apr 30 2012: Get rid of the unjust system that creates such inequalities.
    But, hey, no one wants to get rid of the causes, now do they?

    Competition is not the key word as the competition is fixed from the very beginning. It isn't fair, it is a cheat, it isn't a free market, because there is no such thing.

    Stop making our systems dependent upon inequality, crime, greed, poverty and slavery for survival and growth, with incentives and profits for those who can afford to invest in war and death.

    In short, money. Get rid of it, all monetary systems have the needs I just listed in order to survive. Do those meet your needs?

    Tell me we cannot eradicate these from the world. We can. We don't or rather those in power don't allow us to. Thus, we must take the initiative and get rid of those things which are irrelevant to our lives and the problems we need solved.

    Politicians, laws, authority, banks, government, etc. do not solve our problems. We don't need them. They say they will. They don't but we act as if everything belongs to them and people say they don't want the government to give us anything for free. Well, it doesn't belong to government. It belongs to the people of the world and we have to give it to ourselves.
  • thumb
    May 9 2012: Easy start by removing mega banks from political groups. How many Goldman and Sachs reps work in the Presidential cabinet. End lobbying it is bribery at a higher level. Make it so if you are in politics can not vote on anything that has anything to do with what you and your family have invested into as a business. Why not can a judge make a ruling on a case he has personal connection to?
    • thumb
      May 11 2012: Hello Jamie. Yes, this is part of the problem and a problem by itself. These situations you mentioned breed corruption. It is funny that some governments such as ours have laws against nepotism and conflicts of interests. They are toothless because these ingenious politicians find ways to circumvent the laws. Minimizing graft and corruption in government I think will definitely improve the lives of the people that eventually lessens the gap between the rich and the poor.
      • thumb
        May 11 2012: I think these laws are just for looks because usually the politicians are involved in a lot of the laws that rules over businesses they own a part of.
  • thumb
    May 1 2012: starting of a community where they should be an equal participation from the rich and the poor and which there by provides a platform to encourage interaction among the rich and the poor!!
    • thumb
      May 1 2012: This is ideal. The reality however, is that rich people live in gated communities, exclusive subdivisions.

      A platform, for interaction between the rich and he poor is a good idea. The poor can learn a lot from the rich, isn't it? But while they are at it, it would be even better if the rich provides funds for projects where the poor can try out their time-tested ideas on business and money-making ventures.
      • thumb
        May 2 2012: yeah!! poor need a platform which provide them the support that they need in the long run!!!and it can be done by the rich as u say by providing funds and knowledge+guidance which will thereby help them to pursue what they want. it can be best implemented when rich people get out of their gated communities and prepare themselves to share a community which include people who aren't rich!!
  • thumb
    Apr 30 2012: By establishing a political system in which money is not the basis of well-being and meaning for people's lives.
  • thumb
    May 29 2012: Negative income tax. Governments should tax the rich and distribute money to to poor.
  • May 11 2012: Thank you for this interesting question, First I would like to state a few things:
    a) Social and Economic disparities are correlated with cultures. In general, European countries tend to have more income redistribution, and South American, and South African countries tend to have a bigger gap.
    b) Those gaps come from lack of social mobility and from weak social governments.
    c) In general, as richer a country is, as fare it distributes it income to the population. (the bigger exception are the USA)

    Education, like you sad, it's highly important do decrease that gap, but education is not everything. People need to be able to climb to higher social levels, and there is were social mobility enters. In the past, America was considered the best country to get wealthy. But nowadays it only happens to a group smart or lucky people, a really small group, while the rest of the population remains poor.
    Countries like Denmark and Norway have high levels of social mobility, due to their investment is higher education, so if you want to live the American Dream, go to Denmark.
    • thumb
      May 12 2012: Thanks for the inputs, Marco.

      Did I get it right that when you say "social mobility", you are referring to the increase in one's income (through variety of means, such as jobs, trade or businesses) that consequently raises their level in the economic and social strata, e.g., from lower middle class to upper middle class; or from poor to lower middles class? You see, this is interesting because I watched a special on TV (on Oprah if I am not mistaken) about how Denmark has the highest tax imposed on individuals but they are considered to be the "happiest" in the world. I surmised that Denmark's government use all of those collected taxes back to the people through services and critical infrastructure. Needless to say, this type of situation is only possible if there is very minimal if not totally nil of graft and corruption.

      Government plays an important role since the conducive environment for business and generation of jobs for the people to accomplish "social mobility" are the responsibilities of government. So what you are saying is that make the "weak" governments strong! I agree, 100%.

      As for the correlation of the disparities with culture, we may need to examine this further. In Asia for instance, the gap between the rich and the poor in Thailand is not as wide as its neighboring country like India. Can you share more of your thoughts on the relation of the gap with culture and how we can address in closing the gap? I imagine it would be very hard if it's rooted with culture....
  • thumb
    May 10 2012: i think it comes down to the rich trying to create opportunities to enable the poor to seek ways of becoming productive in a society.I honestly feel like at least in USA if there were an initiative to do more urban farming and employing and teaching the poor to grow and sell food to local stores (Chain or mom/pop) it would help alleviate some of the stress and the age of our farmers in USA is only getting older at the same time its costing more to transport goods. it could also be seen as a cost cutting mesure on part of large corporations to seek to buy produce from local and urban farmers.

    I can imagine the transportation costs this could help cut down as well as let up the stress on our decaying infrastructure. im trying to start do a start up with my friend now to start to adress this problem. were trying to meet with local farmers near our city but i hope to create some kind of training/vocation program to teach the homeless how to grow food and be able to take their skills into the city and help with the local economy
    • thumb
      May 11 2012: Yes, Cinque. I am all for "community trade"! For instance, teaching poor communities to develop their local resources and eventually sell their products to manufacturing companies is a great way in not only developing the economy of the community but more importantly making the people self-sufficient and self-reliant. I applaud you Cinque!
      • thumb
        May 11 2012: Hold the applause, haven't accomplished what i wanted to yet. A lot of work still needs to be done.
        • thumb
          May 12 2012: That's the right attitude. But hey, taking the first step is the hardest and that deserves some praise. Best of luck!...
  • May 9 2012: Wealthy people should always remember that their wealth is often the result of earnings directly or indirectly through sales of goods and services. All people in the world are consumers, and must have access to resources (jobs, education, opportunities) to continue being able to purchase and consume. Poor people make poor consumers and as the gap widens between the rich and the poor, we will reach a point where the rich will have to carry the poor, or let millions of them die of hunger and disease. The more opportunities and resources are made available to all, the more the cycle continues and all benefit.
  • thumb
    May 7 2012: Hello Mr. Rhome.

    It seems that rich people don't know about poor people very well. The opposite seems to be true.

    Like you said, they may have considerable distance with each other. "Rich people live in only gated community" It is one example of such distance.

    So first, it seems to be better to know with each other. But like this conversation, it will be better to think about the problem in global community. If this scale is too big, we could think in ASIA.

    "Rich people can learn from poor people. Poor people can learn from rich people."

    It maybe difficult, but this mindset seems to be important.
    • thumb
      May 11 2012: Hi Taketomo. Learning from each other is the proper mindset. If we genuinely hear and understand each other, then we can act to resolve the problems one by one. This is the start...
  • May 2 2012: Ruby Payne wrote a book called A Framework for Understanding Poverty. It discussed the 2 different types of poverty (situational and generational) and provides tons of research she did on the subject. The book is rooted in education, but has appeal to others as well. I would recommend checking it out!
  • Apr 30 2012: care. success can not exists without stability. Everyone needs jobs and some items to own.
    This is a game. In the U.
    s. We have so many subsidies for the affluent or loud, but the variables thatg might help this
    problem are not discussed. Really create job and wealth for everyone.
  • thumb
    Apr 30 2012: Improve education so that everyone has a more "equal" foundation.
    • thumb
      Apr 30 2012: I think improving the quality of education has always been one of the priorities of every governrment (at least here in our country). The problem you see is "access to education". Let me give you a concrete example. Elementary and secondary education here in the Philippines is free. In poor communities in some rural areas in the Philippines, kids who go to school have to walk for 2 hours traversing rivers and rugged mountain terrain. Imagine the hardship these kids undergo whenever it rains. Most of the time, because of this severe condition that each kid had to go through day in and day out, parents would not allow their kids to go to school. Instead, they would ask their children to help them in tending their farms. There is free quality education availale but access is the problem. This makes me think that the problem lies in the local governement. Graft and corruption could also be at fault.
      • thumb
        May 1 2012: I see what you mean, the same is the case in the majority of developing countries.
        However, it is also the case that these countries, at least in a majority, are corrupt. It is therefore almost impossible to assume that they will fix these issues since they have other things on their mind rather than the development of the country.
        This is sad given that if we expect local governments to develop a solution to access education, then we are waiting in vain.
        Having said this and taking your point into consideration, I think than in order to have a access to education which would be the solution to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor, the basis for everything lies in diminishing corruption in governments and then, having a positive and strong foundation, build schools and improve the education system.
        • thumb
          May 3 2012: good one karla..corruption is prevaling every where in the world..corruption is one of the biggest problems that every one is going through..though people come out with a remedy to stop corruption government have to actively participate in alliance with the people who are ready to work against it..but government neither wants 'corruption' to wipe out nor they want people to work against it.
  • Apr 30 2012: The key word is compitition. Compitition between rich and rich makes both them richer. Compitition between poor and poor makes both of them poorer. Life of a person living in a large poor community will degrade further as there is huge compition among poor people to be poor.

    Mixing poor and rich people in an area improve lives of poor people.
    • thumb
      Apr 30 2012: Thank you for your comment. I do however, disagree on your point of view about competition. Competition among rich people in retail business for instance would result to lower prices. The poor benefits. This means that poor people would be able to afford those products with lower prices.

      Competition among the poor? Isn't is that in competition there will be a winner as well as a loser. I don't see anyone shortchanged in competition because in the long run, competition would elevate quality. Win-win in the end.
      • Apr 30 2012: You are right in your context where retailers are rich and customer is poor. Just think about the opposite scenario where retailers are poor and the customer is rich. Prices go down with competition and poor people lose.

        To know my context, read the last section (Advantages of making people rich) of the article "Poverty" at http://www.complexproblems.in/

        The poverty-line concept is discouraged in this article.
  • Apr 29 2012: The best way for a person to guarantee that they will not be successful or prosperous is to be more worried about payday instead of their job.
    • thumb
      Apr 30 2012: I get what you say. There has to be passion in what you do. With passion you are happier with your job and rewards surely come later. How about those who do not have jobs? Third world countries have problems with those living beneath the poverty line. What can be done to give hope to these poor people?
      • Apr 30 2012: Concept of poverty line itself is wrong to decide whether a person is poor. Read the definition of poverty and solution at http://www.complexproblems.in/
      • Apr 30 2012: @ Rhome

        What is a job? A job is a means by which we feed, clothe and house ourselves. It does not matter whether we work as an engineer, doctor, attorney, dig ditches or it could be grow, make and build our own.

        Now, if someone does not have the knowledge to do those things then the best way is to teach them how not to be poor.

        Keep the following in mind while you work on the problem. The best way to keep someone poor is to give them their sustenance.


        Thanks for engaging,

        W.P. Baldwin