[NS] #2 Structural Violence – The Gap Between the Rich and Poor


by. Bong Eun Seo


Ever since the humanity started to build a civilization on the earth, people have been divided into two different groups. Every society has people who hire other people, and people who are hired by some people. As long as this system of society is here, forming of the gap between the rich and the poor is inevitable. Especially in Korea, which is a society based on capitalism, narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor looks tough.

Many experts in economics and social area says that the existence of gap between the rich and poor is inevitable. It is conspicuous that the gap between the rich and poor is existing in our society, as we can see in the fact that “the three wealthiest individuals in the world have assets that exceed those of the poorest 10 percent of the world’s population (Boundless). This has always been a problem, and the gap is continuing to widen, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) (Reuben). People who say there is no way this gap can be narrowed explains various reasons for this structural violence, but the most likely cause is monopoly of the upper class in economics. According to Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, said “the increasing concentration of political power in a corporate and financial elite that has been able to influence the rules by which the economy runs” is the problem (Reich). This basically means the wealthy egoists, or egotists, are the ones with political power, which means they are allowed to change the economic system to their favor. People with power and money forms their own community and keeps monopolizing the wealth, never being altruists. Consequently, ordinary people are never given the opportunity to gain wealth. The rich stays rich, and the poor stays poor. This is the fundamental reason why the gap between the rich and poor can never be narrowed.

However, there are some people who thinks we can actually get rid of the gap. They believe, even though the ruling class are actually monopolizing wealth and has power to manage the economical system, they have ways to narrow the gap. John D. Sutter, a columnist for CNN Opinion, is suggesting some alternatives for narrowing the cap between the rich and poor, which can be used instead of trying to actually be the ruling class ourselves (Sutter). First of all, we have to tear down the social barriers between the rich and poor. For that, proper education is important. John also talks about developing public education, so that we can get rid of the difference of education level between the rich and poor. Another important point is minimum wage. He mentions the 1960s of the United States, and suggests that we have to raise the minimum wage to the level. Imposing more tax on the rich is another way. He finally mentions offering financial help to the poor, which can be random but at least the most direct solution. As we can see in the article written by John D. Sutter, there are many solutions suggested and already being tried out. Some people believe the gap between the rich and poor actually can be narrowed if we keep working hard and paying attention to the problem.

I personally believe the gap between the rich and poor can’t be narrowed. Especially in Korea, very few people have both power and money. There is a Korean proverb which can be translated into “The rags of riches story” in English. It basically means some people makes great success from a humble environment. Korea has a social system that makes it impossible for the poor to be in the rich. However, we could narrow the gap between the rich and poor someday.

rich and poor2

(photo credit : http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/29392/texas-third-regressive-tax-system-u-s)


Works Cited

Boundless. “Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 21 July 2015. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.  (Boundless)

Reich, Robert. “The Real Reason For the Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor.” Newsweek. N.p., 28 Sept. 2015. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. (Reich)

Reuben, Anthony. “Gap between Rich and Poor ‘keeps Growing’ – BBC News.” BBC News. n.p., 21 May 2015. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. (Reuben)

Sutter, John D. “7 Ways to Narrow the Rich-poor Gap.” CNN. Cable News Network, 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. (Sutter)


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