Essay about Analysis of Economic Inequality In "Ill Fares The Land" and "Justice"

Essay about Analysis of Economic Inequality In "Ill Fares The Land" and "Justice"

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In “Ill Fares the Land,” Tony Judt argues that “the pursuit of material self-interest” has become the main ingredient in “our sense of collective purpose.” He argues that this materialism is responsible for the “growing disparities of rich and poor,” but Judt’s demonization of individualism continues as he attributes the woes of contemporary life to “materialistic and selfish quality.” Judt is correct in his argument that materialism and by proxy, individualism have undermined the fabric of the community. Although the community’s diminishing bonds are to blame; government inaction is also a contributory factor. Together, the downfall of the community, through the growing disparity of economic classes and runaway individualism, and government dysfunction and gridlock are the main contributing factors that prevent the reconciliation of economic inequality.

Economic inequality is ingrained in our society. Because of this fact, many would argue that “that’s just how it is,” but in reality this is not how a community is suppose to function. As Michael Sandel writes in his book Justice, “As inequality deepens, rich and poor live increasingly separate lives.” Sandel makes an excellent point. As economic divisions, such as the ones present in the United States, worsen, the classes diverge on every level. Wealthy people attend different schools, purchase luxury cars, and live in gated communities. Meanwhile, the poor live in squalor, use public transportation, and attend failing schools. Aside from the lack of a quality education making it harder to escape poverty, the poor are from birth at a disadvantage to those on the other side of the economic scale. The United States is not a land of guaranteed equality of result, that is...


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...ment and the people, more Americans can see the equality promised them: equality of opportunity. Only through community, meaning effort from both citizens and government, can inequality be resolved. No one-sided approach can rectify a situation that envelops all of society. Government must set aside partisanship in order to produce targeted legislation that addresses the declining transportation, education, and economic infrastructure. Meanwhile, the community must realign their ideals and realize that together these problems can be solved. However, as long as materialism and overt individualism dominate the community and dysfunction and gridlock have a foothold in government, the schism between rich and poor will continue to grow. The two sides will “live increasingly separate lives” (Sandel), and the goal of economic equality slips father and farther from repair.

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