The psychological impact of inequality

The psychological impact of inequality

Inequality is a very present phenomenon in the current reality.Some have more and others less, both in terms of money and opportunity. This will obviously affect our lifestyles and the quality of life we ​​lead. The effects of inequality do not stop there, however. It also generates psychological effects.

The current context, characterized by difficulties and economic instability, tends to generate greater differences between social classes.There are therefore three clearly defined classes. The rich, who own almost everything. A middle class, with little capital compared to the rich. And the poor, who have nothing. So that the economy and social class of belonging will produce certain psychological effects, which we report below.

Daily inequalities

The social class to which we belong influences our way of perceiving reality. It influences the way we feel and how we behave.Individuals of the lower class will perceive that the events that occur around them depend on external forces beyond their control. These people tend to be more empathetic and compassionate, altruistic or, in other words, to take more positive actions towards others without getting anything in return. All this in comparison with the upper class.

On the other hand is the economy, the money. The difference between the amount of money owned by the richest and the poorest will determine the economic inequality of a society. Therefore, if the rich possess twenty times more money than the poor in one society and in another they have a thousand times more, the first society will have less economic inequality than the second.The people issMore unequal societies tend to be more suspicious. They also tend to compete more for economic resources and to promote economic inequalities.

Social class inequality

We all grow up in a certain social class. In addition, most of us will still live in a social class similar to the one we grew up in.let's develop a way of thinking, feeling and acting very similar to those around us. This will also determine how we interact with others.

People of lower social class generally live in environments where there is a lot of uncertainty. Environments where they are vulnerable and where threats are frequent and important. So that they perceive that their actions and the opportunities they have do not depend on them but on external elements that they can not control. Theyare generally more context-sensitive.

People in the upper class have more economic resources and their social position is higher. They live in societies where security and freedom of choice prevail and are characterized by stability. So thatthese people learn to perceive that they have the ability to influence the context. And, unlike the lower class, they become more sensitive to the opinions of others. Although people in the lower class develop greater empathy, those in the upper class are more specific in identifying the emotions felt by the people with whom they interact (cognitive empathy).

Gini coefficient: inequality index

Economic inequality

Economic inequality is a consequence of how resources are distributed in a societyThe distribution may be more or less egalitarian, more unequal. We understand that unequal societies are more problematic for those who have the least. Some of these problems are health, obesity, unwanted pregnancies, addiction, delinquency. There are nevertheless other types of psychological problems.

People who live in more unequal societies tend to be more suspicious. They are also more uncomfortable with others and participate less in social activities. There is less interaction between individuals, especially when they live in different neighborhoods. We also meet more competitiveness in very unequal societies. This generates more anxiety inherent in the underestimation of individuals, especially those with very low status. Even though individuals also tend to value themselves more positively in order to avoid this.

Ultimately, les less unequal societies offer better contexts for living. The benefits, both material and psychological, are much greater in this type of society. Moreover, the social classes of these societies are more similar. And, as if that were not enough, the greater the inequality of a country, the more likely it is that its inhabitants prefer a more unequal society or that they worry less about this inequality.


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