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Wealth inequality can play an important role in how people see themselves, their status, and their achievements. For individuals who do not have much money, comparison to wealthy people may be emotionally harmful. The information presented below will show that wealth inequality can lead to aggressiveness and inappropriate behavior, as well as make people feel bad about themselves.
However, one can argue that imbalance does not affect all people’s mental health because many of them have no economic problems. The research question of the paper is: Does wealth inequality lead to a poor mental state in individuals? The main thesis of this paper is that because of wealth inequality, individuals can start to show problems with self-esteem and self-respect.
Effects of Wealth Inequality
Several arguments support the idea that wealth inequality can lead to a poor mental state in individuals. First, Vedantam, Shah, Boyle, and Cohen (2019) show that wealth inequality can have a psychological effect on people. For example, the authors report that people can become sad or aggressive when they witness inequality. Second, imbalance of any kind can lead to a poor mental state. The study by Yu (2018) shows that people are sensitive to inequality on all levels because they do not want to feel different from each other. Third, wealth disparities are directly related to depression, which means that they affect individuals’ mental health highly (Patel et al., 2018).
However, there is an alternative point of view on the topic. For example, Sommet, Morselli, and Spini (2018) agree that wealth inequality may harm individuals’ mental health but add that the problem is not important for people that do not have financial problems. Unwealthy groups of the population may feel unhappy and have a negative emotional reaction when they compare themselves to others. However, many people who have economic stability do not experience such problems (Sommet et al., 2018). It means that wealth disparities may not lead to a poor mental state in all people; they only affect some individuals.
Although this perspective is reasonable and should be considered, one has to understand that the majority of the world’s population is not wealthy. Neate (2017) reports that 1% of the richest people in the own world half of their wealth. It means that the rest of the global population may have economic problems that make them unhappy, cause negative feelings, and lead to a poor mental state. In addition, Sommet et al. (2018) note even some of the wealthiest individuals may have a feeling of guilt or fear of losing their financial position, which can also lead to a poor mental state. It means that wealth inequality is a large problem that can affect all groups of populations, including those who do not have economic problems.
The analysis of the topic shows that wealth inequality can lead to a poor mental state in all groups of individuals. This problem can result in sadness, unhappiness, aggressive behavior, and depression. The possible objection to this idea is that many people do not have economic problems. However, studies show that even wealthy people can be affected by wealth inequality. The reason for it is that they may feel guilty about being in a good economic position or be afraid to lose it. In summary, wealth inequality is an important problem because it can result in a poor mental state of both poor and rich people.
Neate, R. (2017). Richest 1% own half the world’s wealth, study finds. Web.
Patel, V., Burns, J. K., Dhingra, M., Tarver, L., Kohrt, B. A., & Lund, C. (2018). Income inequality and depression: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of the association and a scoping review of mechanisms. World Psychiatry, 17(1), 76-89.
Sommet, N., Morselli, D., & Spini, D. (2018). Income inequality affects the psychological health of only the people facing scarcity. Psychological Science, 29(12), 1911-1921.
Vedantam, S., Shah, P., Boyle, T., & Cohen, R. (2019). Why no one feels rich: The psychology of inequality. Web.
Yu, S. (2018). Uncovering the hidden impacts of inequality on mental health: A global study. Translational Psychiatry, 8. Web.