Uneven Development  


Inequality persists in this world we live in.  The notorious divide between the rich and poor is ever widening.  This gap can be observed within and across nations.  There is income inequality and huge differences in lifestyles and living conditions among the rich and the poor.  The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development cited Chile, Turkey, Mexico, and the United States as the countries with the most imbalanced distribution of income. This means some people are enjoying an affluent lifestyle and exalted social status while some are barely surviving and living below the poverty line.

The report just analyzed the income distribution among developed nations, which means that it did not include yet the figures for developing countries, wherein and amongst themselves, inequality is very prevalent.  The topic about the uneven distribution of income is not just about differences in salaries in monetary figures among the workforce.  This also means differences in stature in society and access to resources and services. One may be led to ask why inequality exists. Why does there have to be rich and poor?  Why are there people who have so much and people who have almost nothing at all?  And why is the gap between the wealthy and the lowly getting bigger?  Can something be done about it?

I remember Neil Smith, who was a geographer and anthropologist, attempted to explain this phenomenon of uneven development through geographical spaces and the growth and expansion of capitalism in cities, nations, and throughout the world.  He argued that capitalism defined nature and space.  His theory was anchored in Marxism philosophy involving the class struggle between capitalists and workers to protect and promote their respective interests.  In as much as capitalism created and shaped progress and development in the places where it operates, it also brought with it urgent social concerns that affect the people and the environment. We should be mindful of this so-called development and never set aside the interests of the people for progress.