Current Event that Highlights the Issue
The current event that was chosen was the recent rally that occurred in Connecticut wherein parents rallied for the implementation of education reform in order to give students from low income families a better shot at life through better standards of education. The focus of the rallies were to highlight what they believed was a social and civil rights issue due to what they perceived as a systemic issue that adversely impact children from low income households. One of the more noticeable aspects of income inequality can be seen in the impact that it has had on the current system of education within the U.S. Duncan explains this issue by showcasing the difference in performance between children from low income families and those from families that are from mid to high income ranges (Duncan 8). Simply put, children from the middle and upper class outperform their counterparts when it comes to the rate in which they are able to understand lessons, their method of creative thinking as well as aspects related to intuitive problem solving.
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Income inequality can be viewed as the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities among different social classes. This can manifest in a variety of different instances such as the rich getting richer due to the opportunities given to them, while the poor get poorer due to the lack of possible opportunities that they can avail of. It is due to this that income inequality has become a hotly debated topic with multiple viewpoints regarding how it has negatively impacted society. The reason why this perspective was chosen as an example was due to its long lasting effects on the general population which can be traced to not only greater access to educational materials (i.e. iPads with educational applications, tutors, etc.) but also in the way in which they are children are taught differently. Private schools for the upper and middle class have been noted as having a far better standard of education resulting in the implementation of teaching practices that places a considerable emphasis on creative thinking and intellectual development as compared to the public school system that focuses more on rote learning techniques (i.e. memorization) due to the desire of local school systems to obtain high general evaluation scores when it comes to standardized tests for their students. This ends up being the perpetuation of income inequality since students from high income families become more likely to get into college and attain jobs with large salaries as compared to their working class counterparts. It is due to this obvious trend that protesters in
Moral Issues Involved with the Problem
The moral issue in the case of this issue is the issue of “the denial of opportunity” that people face when confronted with income inequality. As seen in the example shown above involving the issue of education in the U.S., income equality creates an adverse cycle in society that perpetuates discrimination and economic limitations on a select group of individuals. The problems stem from how the current social system is ordered wherein, by virtue of their birth, people are categorized into different social classes and are thus subject to the opportunities and limitations under their respective categories (Nakamura 520). From the perspective of the Catholic Church, we are all equal under God and, as such, the perpetuation of a cycle of inequality due to something that is out of a person’s control can be considered as being somewhat immoral especially when taking into consideration the fact that a lack of opportunity in one generation of individuals perpetuates itself into the next generation.
What the Catholic Church Teaches about the Problem
When it comes to addressing the issue of income inequality, the view of the Catholic Church on the issue is that addressing the problem is a joint social responsibility. What this means is that merely leaving the problem up to politicians is not feasible enough to actually address it. Income redistribution through taxation merely results in resentment since those being taxed adversely (i.e. the rich) would see that their efforts at earning money is merely being expended towards an endeavor that does not benefit them in the slightest (i.e. creating a better system of education for the poor). It is based on such a perspective that church views the issue as a form of joint social responsibility wherein it is necessary to impart the idea that the concept of “self-benefit” should be eclipsed by the notion of “social good” (National Conference of Catholic Bishops 15). This viewpoint focuses on the idea that people would help others not because it would benefit them in the end, rather, they do so simply because it is the right thing to do and creates a form of general benefit towards society as a whole (National Conference of Catholic Bishops 40).
The denial of opportunity seen in the case income inequality creates a societal problem that propagates itself into a cycle where those who are denied opportunities beget individuals who are similarly placed in the same situation. The end result is that one sector of society tends to benefit and progress while the other merely relapses into stagnation. The inherent problem with this is that societal regression, even if it is in just a single sector, can have dire implications for society as a while. As such, the Catholic Church advocates looking beyond “the self” and looking at society as a while and understanding how implementing the virtues of generosity, piety and love for one’s fellow man would result in societal progression not only for a single sector but for the entirety of society. The result would be a far better system than the one that currently exists since everyone would benefit instead of merely a select few.
Possible Solutions to the Problem and Methods to for teenagers advocate for social justice based on the teachings of the Catholic Church
While there are no concrete solutions to addressing the issue of income inequality outright, one of the possible ways that this could be done would be to address the issue of the lack of opportunities people from lower income families encounter. For instance, as seen in the first section of this paper, there is the current issue involving the education of children within the U.S. and how income inequality has resulted in a systematic regression when it comes to educational achievement for children from lower income families (Alves 916). One way of addressing the issue would be to allocate more money towards improving the state of public education in the U.S. which would result in the children getting better opportunities for themselves.Based on what has been presented so far, it is recommended that the prime method of social justice for teenagers to implement should focus on showcasing how all of society would benefit from the aforementioned strategies.
Alves, Nuno. “The Impact Of Education On Household Income And Expenditure Inequality.” Applied Economics Letters 19.10 (2012): 915-919. Print
Duncan, Greg J., and Richard J. Murnane. “Growing Income Inequality Threatens American Education.” Phi Delta Kappan 95.6 (2014): 8. Print
Nakamura, Hideki. “Wages Of Regular And Irregular Workers, The Price Of Education, And Income Inequality.” Journal Of Economic Inequality 11.4 (2013): 517-533. Print
National Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy.” USCCB 1.1 (1989): 1-89. Usccb. Web.