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Writing About Income Inequality

Essay paper writing

Academic writing


Writing an essay on income inequality, you will consider a great problem for the world economy, primarily for developing countries. In the last fifteen years of social and economic reforms, most people have been able to agree with William Churchill, who said that socialism is an even distribution of poverty, and capitalism is an uneven distribution of wealth. Where is the ideal order, which our society should strive to? By the way, it’s a good question to consider in argumentative essay on income inequality.

A rapid increase in inequality caused the expansion of mass poverty, as well as other acute social and economic problems. In recent years, positive changes took place in the material and social sphere of many states, but the process of economic stratification continues even now.

So, the rich vs poor essay topics or any papers about income inequality are very in-demand at the moment, since major changes taking place in the world make it necessary to transform the model of income distribution and require the solution of complex problems.

Review of material capital as socio-economic category for income inequality essay  

How to start an essay on income inequality? After formulating the central problem, you are recommended to explain the basic terms, tell what role the incomes play in the life of society, and why it is important to maintain the middle class. And of course, you have to conduct research on economic inequality and be ready that the theoretical material is not that easy to comprehend. In this article, we will try to explain some fundamentals of the economy and provide some substantial information for your income inequality essay.

In a market economy, the results of economic activity are presented in the form of revenues. The income of the population is the value of the goods produced over a certain period of time measured in monetary equivalent. The income of any part of society should correspond to the value of share produced by it.

Incomes of social groups represent the amount of money received by all members in the form of wages, income from entrepreneurial activity, pensions, scholarships, allowances, compensatory and other payments, interest, dividends, rent, and other property income.

Along with individual incomes, the population satisfies a wide range of own needs for free or at reduced prices using the services of public health, education, culture centers, state housing, public transport, etc. You may state in essay on income inequality and happiness that all these elements guarantee a safe and balanced life of citizens.

reasons for income inequality essay

The concept of the middle class for economic inequality essay

The theoretical definition of the middle class causes the greatest controversy among economists and sociologists. Given the limited information on the standard of living of the population, it makes sense to proceed from the fact that the middle class got its name due to place in the social hierarchy, as a group of people with an average income for a given society.

In theoretical sociology, the term ‘middle class’ means a part of society that occupies the status positions between the top and bottom in the social hierarchy. Through its maintenance, widening, and strengthening, the state can prevent high income inequality.

From the economic point of view, the middle class is an independent social subject capable of effectively performing its traditional functions: invest in the national economy, play the role of the main taxpayer, and act as a stabilizer of socio-political processes.

There is a generally accepted methodology that identifies several mandatory attributes of the population’s belonging to the middle class. It may be found in any good example of research paper about poverty. The following aspects are of great importance:

  • the financial situation (including decent income, sufficient savings, adequate housing, and other property);
  • the social and professional status (level of education, culture, kind of activity);
  • self-identification.

Another important feature of the middle class is its ability to invest in real estate and liquid assets.

More specifically, you can provide the following criteria for identifying the middle class in wealth and income inequality essay:

  • level of income that allows enjoying a modern way of life;
  • the relative stability of the economic status;
  • sustainable economic self-sufficiency;
  • ownership of the property;
  • activities in the field of science or culture which are recognized as particularly valuable for society and carried out on the basis of possessing unique creative abilities;
  • the ability to influence the social process and its management more or less significantly.

Based on the above, you can specify the social groups that belong to the middle class in essay on economic inequality:

  • employed persons, highly qualified specialists: middle and partially lower managers who carry out technical and functional management at enterprises and organizations of any form of ownership;
  • highly skilled workers with a modern type of qualification;
  • highly qualified specialists of the non-production profile;
  • persons exercising civil authority and part of the officials;
  • figures of science;
  • part of the military officers.

It’s important to mention in income inequality paper that the presence of the middle class provides stability and dynamic economic development. As a basic social group, it performs a number of very important social functions:

  • The function of the social stabilizer is the basic among them; having achieved a certain place in the social structure, the representatives of the middle class are inclined to support the existing state order that enabled them to reach their position.
  • It also should be noted in essays on social inequality that, in addition to the stabilizing function, the middle class plays an important role in other social processes.  
  • The middle class also plays a leading role in the processes of social mobility and strengthens the existing social system protecting it from cataclysms.

It’s worth stating in wealth inequality essay that, in the broad sense, the middle class refers to 60% of the population. This group has incomes above the poverty line but not belongs to the richest strata.

income inequality in America essay

Tendencies of colonial period for income inequality research paper

If you live in the US and have to conduct income inequality research, then you are a lucky one. The US has a reach history and is of the most powerful economies in the world. However, the question of income inequality has always been topical for the state. Referring to historical examples in, it’s worth recalling in student essay about US income inequality that the colonial period (1607-1775) was the first stage on which economic imbalance was clearly visible. Its specificity was largely determined by the features of the social and ethnic composition of the North American population:

  1. The main social groups were represented by the white settlers. The white population of the colonial era was divided into two main economically and socially unequal categories: free settlers and so-called contracted servants. In Europe, the servants were chosen from the poor or declassed strata. They agreed to perform any work for their master on the terms of providing meager food and clothing (but without monetary compensation) during a stipulated period of time (usually 4-7 years).
  2. The other social group consisted of black Americans, the vast majority of whom were slaves. Black Americans were part of North American society as a lower class. The contrast in the positions of black slaves and white Americans may be considered as the most profound manifestation of economic inequality. However, this issue deserves separate research. Here, we will talk about the differences in the positions of white citizens.
  3. The third major group consisted of the Indians. They were considered the most dynamic social and economic group. Some tribes were treated with respect, while others could not be categorized in any of the economic groups at all.

You may dwell on this stratification in your income inequality and poverty essay if you want to go deeper into the issue and provide some historical background of the problem.

Review of post-revolutionary period for wealth and poverty essay

At the end of the XVIII century, the process of property differentiation did not weaken, even intensified. Socially and economically, the American Revolution was primarily aimed at eliminating the legislative restrictions imposed on the North American industry and the trade in the metropolis, as well as on the elimination of the privileges that were granted to English merchants, industrialists, and financiers. Its goal was the establishment of free competition; this aim was achieved at the very beginning of the War of Independence.

There are many facts proving the renewal of the American entrepreneur class, which may be provided in an income inequality argumentative essay. At the end of the revolution, at least half of the merchants of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia (three main American cities and business centers) were new people who came from the lower strata and changed or increased their status due to the opportunities of economic liberalism granted by the revolution.

The number of businessmen, as well as their share in the American population, increased sharply. However, this positive result did not mean an increase in the well-being of all strata. On the contrary, as most American researchers agree, during the years of the revolution, the social stratification intensified. In the American revolutionary mentality, equality meant equal opportunities in all spheres, including the economy, but not the equality of the results achieved.

The idea of ​​equality of opportunities became the foundation for a pro-democracy camp in the era between the American Revolution of the late 18th century and the Civil War of the 1860s. Throughout this era, the main way of providing equal opportunities to the lower layers of white Americans was to facilitate their access to the state land fund located west of the frontier.

The state land fund was formed by the acts of 1784-1785, which concerned the unoccupied northwestern territories. In 1795, as a result of concessions on the part of Spain, a huge southwest territory entered the federal fund. In 1803, it was replenished with the territory of Louisiana. Slavery was banned in the northwestern part of the federal land fund, while it was permitted in the southwestern area.

There is no possibility to consider contradictory details of agrarian legislation. In effects of income inequality essay in America, it’s worth mentioning those aspects which consisted of the provision of ordinary citizens with land and, as a consequence, the weakening of property inequality.

  • Rushing to the West and acquiring very large plots of land, Americans contributed to the permanent growth of farming: throughout the period under consideration, the number of independent farmers was almost three times higher than the number of agricultural workers. From 1800 to 1860, in the West, about 15 new states were formed, and the number of their inhabitants increased from 1 to 15 million people.
  • In the period from 1829 to 1837, the number of banks in the US grew from 329 to 788, and the total volume of loans increased from 137 to 525 million dollars. Thousands of Americans took advantage of the expanded possibilities of loans for the acquisition of land plots in the West: in 1832-1836, their sale increased more than 8 times.

End of the Civil War - the Beginning of XX Century

The next period of American history, which may be described in an essay on inequality in society, is distinguished by the serious changes in the content of economic imbalance in the United States. After the Civil War, industrial capitalism occupied the dominant positions not only in the northern but also in the southern states. The slave-owning aristocracy was liquidated, and the planters gave way to the dominant position in the upper class to industrialists and financiers. Large corporations have since become the backbone of the US national economy.

American corporate capitalism model gained a leading position not only in the country but also in the whole world. In the 1890s, the United States took first place in the world in terms of industrial output. The ratio between the industrial and agrarian sectors of the economy has radically changed. Here are some facts to add in your essay:

  • At the beginning of the XX century, half of Americans lived in cities.
  • The number of people employed in the industry was 1.5 times higher than the number of agricultural workers.
  • Non-agricultural industries gave 3/4 of the national income.
  • Due to all these changes, urban America began to determine the parameters of economic inequality in the United States.

Nevertheless, agriculture still was the main deterrent of the development of economic inequality until the beginning of the XX century. This was explained by the fact that the democratic agrarian law of 1862 allowed hundreds of thousands of Americans to settle in the western lands as farmers. However, over time, the actual use of this law became contradictory.

It will be honest to state that the authorities provided the lands of the federal fund to railroads and other corporations, and eventually, farmers received only one acre out of every 9 acres of free state land. But anyway, the number of farmlands doubled in 50 years after the Civil War, and the number of farms increased from 2.6 to 6.4 million.

The number of citizens employed in agriculture increased from 6 to 12 million during the same years. The economic situation of farmers was not simple (at the end of the 19th century) but still more prosperous than the conditions of the working class.

Economic contrasts developed primarily in urban America. In order to prove such a thesis in income inequality essay, example of statistical nature may be provided:

  • In 1890, 1.6% of the richest American families owned 10.8% of the national income, and 88% of Americans from the lower strata - 65%. In 1910, the shares of these groups were 19% and 62%, respectively.
  • The dominant economic position belonged to the owners of large corporations whose number did not exceed 1% of Americans. They owned 70% of corporate wealth and half of the entire American industry.
  • In fact, the top of corporate America occupied the place that belonged to 1% of the plantation families of the southern states before the Civil War.

Analysis of modern history for income inequality in America essay

The period of modern American history, which began after the First World War was ambiguous in terms of trends of economic inequality and can be divided into three periods:

  1. The first period embraced the 1920s. It is known as the Decade of Prosperity in the United States.
  2. The second took place in the 1930-1940s. Particularly, the 30s were the times of the Great Depression in the US.
  3. And finally, the third, including the stage from the 1950s to the present time, has its own internal division, which falls on the 1970s.

During and after the First World War, the United States strengthened the position of the leading economic power. The peak of economic growth occurred in the 1920s. The least privilege was granted to agriculture. There was a significant decrease in income and living standards of farmers. One of the main reasons was the constantly growing disproportion between the prices of industrial and agricultural products. By 1922, in comparison with the pre-war period, price scissors increased in favor of industry by 19%. In eight years, the share of farming in the national income was reduced to 9%. In 1929, the average per capita income of farmers was three times lower than the revenues of other Americans.

The industry continued to exalt large businesses. Here is the vivid example for global elite, income inequality essay: in 1929, 200 largest corporations concentrated half of all corporate capital of the nation, 38% of the business, and 20% of the national wealth in their hands. These figures indicate that large business has benefited most from the economic growth of the 1920s. You are definitely wondering to what extent it affected the welfare of the middle and lower classes. Let’s consider it in detail.

In the modern United States, the upper and middle classes constitute a solid majority (2/3) of the population, which, according to the conclusion of representatives of all social sciences, is one of the main indicators of maturity and stability (economic, social, and political) of capitalist civilization.  In the 1920s, the US did not even come close to this indicator. At least 2/3 of the Americans belonged to the lower class.

The economic progress, as well as the Decade of Prosperity in general, collapsed in 1929-1933 due to the global economic crisis. F. Roosevelt, leader of the Democratic Party, singled out its main reason, which may be formulated in “Cause of income inequality in the United States” essay as follows: the rapid growth of labor productivity observed in America in the 1920s was not supported by the necessary taxation of corporations and the redistribution of rapidly rising profits. Moreover, the interests of the majority of society were not taken into account.

The productive capacities of the nation have continuously increased. However, consumer opportunities have changed little due to the selfishness and omnipotence of big business, which can be stressed as one of the most significant negative factors in the reasons for income inequality essay. Under such conditions, overproduction, unemployment, and economic collapse became inevitable.

Roosevelt’s reforms and reduce income inequality

The radical reform of the distribution system aimed at expanding the purchasing power (demand) of the bulk of the population (lower and middle classes) was symbolically described by Roosevelt as “pump-priming.” With its theoretical justification, Keynesian economics emerged.

Among the social reforms of the New Deal, the creation of the national social insurance system can be regarded as the most important in poverty vs wealth essay. Two of its central components, old-age and unemployment insurance, became the main pillars of the American social state and, subsequently, were recognized by both liberals and conservatives.

It is also necessary to mention laws that allowed the lower social classes and groups to sharply expand the possibilities for participation in the distribution of national wealth. The working legislation enabled the working people to firmly and effectively challenge the right of monopoly to distribute surplus value.

The Wagner Act of 1935 had a huge impact on the improvement of the material situation of the working people. Using it, they conducted a brutal attack on entrepreneurs and achieved one concession after another. Representatives of lower strata did not abandon aggressive tactics during the Second World War.

As a result, the wages of American workers have grown significantly. During the New Deal of the 1930s, it increased by 40% and almost doubled during the entire period of Roosevelt’s presidency. You may write in the income inequality essay conclusion that this is the highest figure in the whole American history, and it is directly related to Roosevelt’s reforms, which can serve as a worthy example for modern politics.

Modern times

Finally, let’s consider the trends of economic inequality in the 1950-2000s. From the point of view of fundamental economic changes, this period can be described as the era of transition from an industrial to a post-industrial society. The material well-being of US residents has been seriously strengthened: GNP has quadrupled during this period, while the population has doubled.

The middle class reached 60% of the population. As for the distribution of increased material wealth between different economic classes and social groups, there were mixed and contradictory trends.

It should be emphasized in racial and gender income inequality essay that the post-industrial era was characterized by a sharp socio-political activation of previously humiliated social groups. The peak of their activity occurred in the 60-70s of the XX century. For example, the movements of black Americans and women were held under the slogan of spreading the equality of opportunities for these social groups.

Both black American and feminist activists have made great strides. Laws were adopted that equalized blacks with whites and women with men in various public spheres, including the labor market and entrepreneurship. You also may focus on these changes writing the income inequality in education essay because wide access for women and people of color to academic jobs has become more real at that time. As a result, positive development in the economic situation and the statuses of the two social groups were observed.

However, it should be written in poverty and inequality essay that the dynamics of balancing the wages were somewhat worse. By the beginning of the XXI century, the level of average female and male salaries was not equal. Although over the last 70 years of the XX century, the average female salary has grown from 56% to 73% in comparison with male income. At the same time, by the beginning of the 21st century, the wages of the youngest generations of women closely approached the male salaries and reached 93% of the level of the latter.

The imbalance between generational groups has decreased. American retirees have consistently strengthened their economic positions since the 1930s. They became one of the safest age groups in America. The percentage of the poor among people of retirement age fell below 10%. Write in income inequality cause and effect essay that, due to the 1986 law, which prohibited age dismissal discrimination and allowed pensioners to continue working obtaining both pensions and wages, the number of older Americans in the upper economic groups increased.

In the 50-70s, the real wages of Americans from the lower and middle classes grew more than 1.5 times. In the 1960-1970s, when the federal program on combating poverty was first approved in the United States, the threshold was two times higher than the figures proposed in the early 20th century. If guided by the official criterion of the 1970s, at the beginning of the 20th century, the vast majority of the citizens were poor in the United States. In the 1980s, its growth stopped, and even a slight decrease occurred. In the 90s, the growth resumed at the level of 1-2% per year.

The economic boom of the 1990s began in the second quarter of 1991 when the total value of all goods and services produced in the economy increased from 1.8% to 3.14%. From that point forward, for the next ten years, GDP growth was positive, with the highest quarter being the second quarter of 2000 when GDP was 7.7%. From 1990 to 1991, GDP grew from $5.5 trillion to $9.8 trillion.

The 2010s economy has changed many Americans’ lives as The Great Recession officially ended in September 2010. However, high unemployment is still of the major economic problems for the country.

We hope that this information is enough for your income inequality research essay.

Income inequality essay outline

Writing an outline is an important stage as your professor has to be aware of what direction you are moving and what are the main fundamentals of your work. Here is a brief example of a good outline:

  • Introduction, which consists of a thesis statement and a hook phrase. This part is usually not very long.
  • Body, which includes 3-5 paragraphs with the arguments and examples, which reinforce them.
  • Economic inequality essay conclusion, which is an important part as here, you have to briefly restate your thesis and main ideas to sound convincing.

Income inequality essay topics

Finally, here are some topics ideas for essays on income inequality. Hope that you will find a good one:

  • Effects of income inequality essay
  • How to solve the problem of income inequality in your country?
  • Income inequality in the household essay
  • Is income equality a good thing?
  • Income inequality too big to ignore essay
  • Is income inequality natural?
  • The upside of income inequality essay
  • The American Dream and income inequality
  • History of income inequality essay
  • The consequences of income inequality
  • Essay on wealth and poverty
  • Social inequality: unequal distribution of resources
  • Effects of income inequality in America essay
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Income inequality exploratory essay
  • Who exactly can be called ‘a middle class’?
  • “How income inequality affects the American dream?” essay
  • My solutions to income inequality
  • Essay on economic growth and income inequality in America
  • Measuring income inequality
  • Globalization and income inequality
  • Fiscal policy and inequality
  • “How income inequality is affecting the poor?” essay
  • What explains the divide between rich and poor?
  • “Income inequality too big to ignore” essay

We hope that this article was useful, and it will be easy for you to write a decent essay on income inequality. If you still struggle to start your working process, you can go on the Web and read sample cause and effect essay on income inequality or example of any other academic type or ask a professional from custom writing service to write an essay for you. Good luck!


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