Alex de Tocqueville's Teachings on Inequality and Poverty in the United States

Alex de Tocqueville's Teachings on Inequality and Poverty in the United States

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French social philosopher, Alex de Tocqueville (1805-1889), once said, “However energetically society in general may strive to make all citizens equal and alike, the personal pride of each individual will always make him try to escape from the common level, and he will form some inequality somewhere to his own profit.” Through the ages, income inequality has caused class conflict, created political systems (communism), and has simultaneously promoted vast increases in wealth and technological advances. The purpose of this paper is to research and examine the benefits and detriments, or pros and cons, of income inequality and to then render my opinion regarding my findings. Because income inequality is vast in nature, this paper will serve to focus on only some of the important aspects of income inequality that fall under the category of “pros,” which include education, competition, and how income inequality stimulates productivity. In addition to focusing on some of the pro aspects of income inequality, this paper will also serve to outline some of the important aspects the “cons” which include concentration of wealth, social consequences, and job flight.
While the inequality between wages and income are often frowned upon by modern middle-class and lower-class societies, the gap between the wealthy and poor often proves beneficial. Because the difference in income levels between these two classes of society are steadily increasing, the incentives of the less wealthy are increasing as a result. An incentive is any factor (financial or non-financial) that enables or motivates a particular course of action. The impact of this increasing gap has created a higher demand for education, produced a competition among people to...


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...d supply of high paying jobs benefits the economy because it rewards those who are willing to seek the necessary precautions to reach them, which in turn creates a better stimulated and more productive work force.
Income inequality has been and will forever continue to be a highly discussed topic in society. As a social experiment, income equality has historically failed. The adage from the communist era “from each according to his ability; to each according to his needs,” ran counter to human nature and experience. On balance, there are positive aspects to unequal income which include; its success in creating a more educated work force, competition among people to succeed and more stimulated productivity, which do not always, but tend to balance out any negative impacts such as; concentration of wealth, social consequences and outsourcing, that it may have.

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