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Transatlantic Blog

Should we be worried about inequality?

Inequality has become the West’s all-consuming focus. Economic inequality has become the prism through which the media report on every story from the annual Oxfam report and Davos forum to last night’s State of the Union address, health care, gender relations, blockchain – even the proper amount of homework to assign and whether parents should read their children bedtime stories.

But should people of faith be worried about inequality?

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), based in London, has produced a new video comparing two hypothetical young women, Kate and Chloe. The short film – titled “Inequality: Should We Be Worried?” – describes how economic redistribution aimed at creating equality would impact both women.

IEA scholars Ryan Bourne and Christopher Snowden examine the issue in granular detail in their 2016 report, “Never Mind the Gap: Why We Shouldn’t Worry about Inequality.”

“A strong focus on inequality within nations obscures the fact that global income inequality has been falling,” the report says. “The overwhelming focus on summary statistics of income or wealth at a given point in time perpetuates two misconceptions – namely, that a distribution can be easily controlled and that the economy is a zero-sum game.” 

Christians must be mindful that we understand the economic consequences of utopian policies, so that we do not make life worse for those who are struggling. For a more detailed exploration, you can download the 54-page IEA report here.

 


Rev. Ben Johnson is a senior editor at the Acton Institute. His work focuses on the principles necessary to create a free and virtuous society in the transatlantic sphere (the U.S., Canada, and Europe). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History summa cum laude from Ohio University and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.