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An Examination of Socio-Economic Disparities and the Beliefs Surrounding Them

The Rt Hon Philip Hammond,

Member of Parliament,

United Kingdom.

Dear Sir

I am writing this letter with the purpose of addressing the problem of inequality that pervades Britain to be highlighted and bring to your notice so that this socio-economic problem can be tried to be curtailed. By inequality, I mean what is measurable in terms of differences in group or people’s economic, political, or social status. The best measurement of inequality is the unequal treatment. The outcomes as measured in inequality are also unequal, such as, job levels, educational qualification, wages, morbidity rates, and savings.

The assumption towards inequality states that it is a problem as there is belief in inequality. The notion of equality in humanity as ordained by religious beliefs makes the people deserving equal treatment, equal rights, and outcomes that are less equal. The people or social or political organizations have the belief in the value of equality. However, in the free society like Britain, the inequality is considered as something inevitable and natural on the ground that characters and the capacity of the people are not equal. The market forces decide the financial affluence of people, where they are awarded on the basis of their hard work and talent.

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There are various evidences of inequality. We can begin with education. Education is not an economic outcome, although, an important role is played by it to determine the labor market position.

Gordon, D., Pantazis, C. and Levitas, R. (eds) (2006) Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: the millennium survey, Bristol: Policy Press.

The figure above provides the breakdown

The figure above provides the breakdown of ethnic groups in Britain in relation to the attainment of GCSE and equivalent. The Chinese and Indians are clearly ahead of the rest and ahead even to the British Whites. However, when it comes to earnings, the ethnic groups of Asian, Caribbean, and African origins are disproportionately behind the British Whites and other White communities.

National Equality Panel (2010) An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK [online] Available from: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cr/CASEreport60.pdf (accessed 22.10.2012)

National Equality Panel (2010)

According to Tawney, in his essay written in 1937, provides the argument that there is deeply embedded culture of inequality in the British society. The problem that stands as an impediment for change is the hierarchy and stratification that is accepted as inevitable and natural. Tawney sought to comprehend this inequality, which he described as religion and then making a philosophical case for equality. Thus, the notion of inequality was problematised by him. Twaney had also indicated that the discussion surrounding the equality have created confusion as people have been referring to different things: (1) the phenomenon of equality is measurable; (2) equality can be seen as a social relation’s value judgment that British people wants; (3) In terms of humanity, people are equal making them deserving equal rights; and (4) there is difference among the people in terms of character and capacities and therefore should be subject to equal treatment as propagated by Tawney. This is contrasting with respect to the culture of inequality

Tawney, R. H. (1995) ‘The Religion of Inequality’ in Desai M (ed.) LSE on equality, London: LSE Books.

Platt, L. (2011) Understanding Inequalities: stratification & difference, Cambridge: Polity Press.

turning the gap into superiority and inferiority being resulted in terms of the way the differences are valued.

The notion that the problem is created by inequality due to its consequences can be articulated as has been done by Richard Wilkinson. He used the data of various countries including United States with its 50 states.

The argument that is most common in favour of inequality is that the difference exists among people in economic aptitudes as the difference existent in athletic, musical, intellectual, and artistic abilities. Specifically, speaking, the people differ in their ability to be perceiving and using the economic opportunities. These proponents belong to Peter Bauer who has been in direct contradiction with Tawney with the latter arguing that inequalities or the differences are reducible through health care or education. Tawney also advocated that inequalities or the differences can be increased with unfair wage practices.

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To me, one of the most pressing problems currently pervading Britain is the income inequality. In this context, I have to confess that the Labour government in the post war time made greater efforts in decreasing the inequality of wealth and income via benefit and tax policies. These measures were aimed at the inequalities of the social classes. In 1970s, the inequality on the basis of race and sex were attacked by the Labour. Subsequent to that other inequality forms could be made illegal that eventually culminated into Equality Act taking place in 2010. However, it is sad that Conservative governments have been largely ignorant to the problem of various forms of inequality.

This issue has large scale relevance in the socioeconomic complexities that Britain face today. I highlighted them with relevant evidences so that your government or you in your personal capacity can take steps addressing these issues.

Looking forward for a meaningful response to these issues.

Yours sincerely

Bauer, P. (1995) ‘The Case of Equality’ in Desai M (ed.) LSE on equality, London: LSE Books.


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