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Concept of Inequality


Inequality is defined as the social, political and economic difference between individuals, groups of persons or countries. Sarangi and Panda define inequality as the state reached after moving out of equality (128). It has existed in countries all over the world for a good number of years; for instance, the U.S. and United Kingdom have experienced inequality for decades (Korzeniewics & Moran, 8). Inequality is often shaped by quite a number of factors: race, gender, wealth, lifestyle, minority groups and ethnic groups (Keister & Southgate, 8). The disparity is a concept that has drawn the attention of authors and debate in the public domain. It is very lucid that nobody would want to be viewed as a mediocre in the society; therefore, inequality is a problem in the society that depends on the human behavior. This article aims to determine the factors that bring about inequality among people as written by different authors.

Literature Review

Inequality has drawn the attention of a good number of authors because it seems inevitable in the society. Korzeniewics & Moran in their study about income and inequality found out that inequality starts from the difference in income among individuals in the society (9). Individuals with high income get more exposed to information around them since they can easily access devices such as televisions, which deliver daily occurrences in the world. Information about services such as health care is very important in any society and those who cannot access the devices that give such information are disadvantaged in the society, hence bringing about the aspect of inequality among people.

Moreover, according to Korzeniewics & Moran, increased revenue in a country determines the ability of the country to acquire new production technologies (10). This leads to better living standards of citizens in the country compared to a country with low income. The rise in income due to the increase in technologies is, however, detrimental in the labor market because it results in a high demand of skilled labor leaving the unskilled jobless hence, resulting in augmented inequality among individuals in the nations (Korzeniewics & Moran, 10).

The dependency of inequality in income is also supported by the assertion that inequality depends on the frequency distribution of income (Sarangi & Panda, 130). An increase in the income level leads to increased inequality and a decrease in the income level leads to a decreased inequality among individuals. Nonetheless, one can argue that an equal addition to all income levels reduce income inequality since persons having a high level of income may not change their consumption pattern, while those with low income level may get access to commodities that could only be purchased by folks in the highest income level (Sarangi & Panda). On the other extreme, equal deduction from all the income levels increases inequality because lower income levels are more suppressed in terms of their consumption pattern (Sarangi & panda, 130).  

Level of education is also another factor sizing inequality. Stefan posits that an increase in the level of education among some individuals in a society increases the gap between the literate and the illiterate that is translated into the white-collar jobs flooded with only the learned (119). However, inequality brings the urge among the illiterate to get an education in order to fit into the job market. Therefore, increased educational attainment disparities leads to a rise in college enrollment decreasing the gap created by educational inequalities (Stefan, 119)

Inequality is also shaped by gender, which is a determinant factor in various economic and political sectors. Men have been known to perform certain tasks better than women even if the women can also carry out the tasks in an equal measure (Keister & Southgate, 18). This leads to men being viewed as more superior than the women resulting into gender inequality. For instance, some tasks such as car repair and painting are considered men’s jobs and not women’s jobs. In education sector, it is believed that men handle mathematical problems better than women resulting into gender inequality (Keister & Southgate, 18). This may not be the case in the current world since women perform better than men in the educational and employment sectors.   

Further, Keister and Southgate assert that race and ethnicity is a common source of inequality in the United States (17).  Race and ethnicity are related to the access to resources in the society; those considered inferior in the society tend to face challenges in accessing the public resources leading to inequality. In addition, factors such as religion, age, complexion, family structure and physical, emotional and mental disabilities contribute to inequality (Keister & Southgate, 18). Despite the fact that factors such as income, race and gender affects inequality, inequality also shapes the relationship between these factors. The desire to be superior in the society than others brings about the concept of corruption, whereby resources are amassed by a group of individuals determined in terms of race, gender or income (Uslaner, 8). 


Inequality is an unavoidable phenomenon in the society that has drawn into debates in the public domain. It is shaped by complex forces working in the opposite directions including political, social and economic forces. These forces are race, gender, income, age, family structure, disabilities, and physical appearances. Without disparities in levels of income there cannot be income inequalities. Similarly, without ethnic and racial differences there cannot be inequalities in any society in the whole world. Therefore, an inequality among individuals in the society is a dependent variable.    

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