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That's despite the vast majority of people - about 80 per cent - living in HDB homes. Someone who lives in public housing has ties to an average of 4.

The 4 biggest reasons why inequality is bad for society

As for schools, someone who went to an elite school has ties to an average of 2. Someone who went to a non-elite school has ties to an average of 3. Social capital is defined by the OECD as the "networks together with shared norms, values and understandings that facilitate cooperation within or among groups".

The OECD is an intergovernmental organisation that studies policies and tracks socio-economic progress worldwide. Despite debates over how best to measure social capital, the concept is drawing interest among politicians and policymakers due to rising concern over marginalisation in societies. Recent events, including the Brexit vote and Mr Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election, have shown that the sense of marginalisation among significant segments in developed societies is a problem now too big to ignore.

Growing wealth inequality in the UK is a ticking timebomb | Danny Dorling

To live in a class bubble - elite or otherwise - is to suffer a poverty of experience, she said, because the world is made up of people of many different backgrounds. She has friends at both extremes: those who are very class-conscious and those who are not.

Making Connections: Social Policy and Debate

It was obvious to her that the latter led lives rich in meaning and friendship. A case can be made that human capital and social capital are inextricably linked. This is the broader context against which it makes sense to keep tabs on social capital here. The emergence of a class divide is hardly surprising given how Singapore society measures success in terms of material wealth and educational achievements. Who can blame people for wanting to hang out with others who share their lifestyle, interests and outlook?


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The similarities help ease conversation and aid understanding. Socialising also tends to take place within structures that limit chances for inter-class mingling, and that includes elite schools, country clubs and professional associations. As a child, I learnt how to swim in a public pool but I have not stepped into one since I could afford a club membership. Even religious organisations can be segmented along class lines; a church in the HDB heartlands looks and feels very different from one in a landed estate.

For example, studies of income and happiness have revealed that, once a basic level of wealth is achieved, relative wealth is more important for overall happiness. Similarly, a vast body of research in social psychology finds that people engage in constant comparison of themselves with others. Even young children show this relative advantage-seeking behaviour.

Five-year-olds often reject equal payouts of two prize tokens for themselves and two prize tokens for another child, and choose instead only one token for themselves , if that means that the other child will get none. The inequality associated with relative advantage is so appealing that it overrides both a desire for fairness and a desire for absolute gain. A further motivation for inequality may come from the idea that inequality is necessary to motivate industriousness and allow for social mobility. For example, Norton argues that people prefer inequality because they see it as a motivating force that leads people to work harder and better, knowing that doing so can improve their station in life, and that of their children.

Class divide and inequality make for poor mix, Opinion News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

After all, a society lacking mobility is a society in which those born into poverty remain in poverty, regardless of their hard work and ingenuity. Not surprisingly, then, a belief in meritocratic mobility is associated with more tolerance for inequality , as reflected in less discomfort with existing wealth inequality, less support for the redistribution of educational resources, and less willingness to support raising taxes on the rich. From this perspective, cultural differences in expectations about mobility may account for differences in tolerance of inequality across cultures.

For example, Americans might have an unreasonable tolerance for inequality in part because they tend to overestimate the extent of mobility in the United States — which is, in fact, lower than in places like Canada and most of Europe. One reason for this lack of mobility is that the income distribution in the United States — the distance between the poorest and richest citizens — is much greater than in rival countries. And the situation is not improving. While concerns about fairness may motivate a preference for inequality, there are various countervailing psychological forces that may lead people to endorse equality.

One of these is a worry about the consequences of an unequal society. That is, even if people have no problem with inequality itself, it might have negative consequences that people are motivated to avoid. When people know where they stand in the overall income distribution, those on the lower end of the scale report less job satisfaction, while those on the higher end of the scale do not report any greater satisfaction.

Inequality is good for society. Do you agree?

This has negative effects for productivity too: workers who know they are on the low side of the distribution decrease their effort, but knowing that one is on the high end does not lead to an increase in effort. However, it is not clear whether the corrosive effects of inequality on happiness are due to inequality per se, or due to the perception of unfair inequality.


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That is, it is an open question whether people who get less than others would suffer decreases in happiness and productivity if they believed they were in a fair system: one in which increased efforts on their part could lead to social mobility. In the current economic environment in the United States and other wealthy nations, concerns about fairness happen to lead to a preference for reducing the current level of inequality.

However, in various other societies across the world and across history for example, when faced with the communist ideals of the former USSR , concerns about fairness lead to anger about too much equality. To understand these opposite drives, one needs to focus not on whether the system results in a relatively equal or unequal distribution of wealth, but whether it is viewed as fair. As with most psychological claims of this sort, our proposal has, at best, indirect implications for public policy. Even if the average individual desires a somewhat unequal society, one might argue that people are mistaken in what they want.

They are wrong about how much inequality there is, believing the current situation to be much more equal than it actually is. Furthermore, Americans have exaggerated views about the extent of social mobility in the United States, and thus the extent to which the current American market system is a fair procedure for wealth allocation.

Income and Wealth Inequality: Crash Course Economics #17

We have argued that views about fairness will be most predictive of discontent with economic inequality. Social inequality is different from economic inequality, though the two are linked. Social inequality is linked to racial inequality, gender inequality, and wealth inequality.

Thomas M. Related Stories. By analyzing over , A social-psychologist has The larger the scale, the The study These same counties experienced higher levels In the largest study of its kind, the researchers saw disparities in wealth mount with the rise of agriculture, Scientists used current and predicted climate