There’s been a lot of complaining going around that the gap between the rich and the poor in America is growing rapidly, citing the progressively increased Gini coefficient as proof of that. It seems like everyone’s complaining that the richer are getting richer, the poorer are getting poorer, and that capitalism is a failed system because it encourages economic disparity and corruption.
But even the economic inequality is quite evident, the opportunity for anyone to become rich is still holding strong. America never was meant to be a land of equality (although rights activists have accomplished much on this front nevertheless). This is however a land of opportunity, and for anyone who doesn’t like being poor, there’s a million relatively simple ways to change that.
So then, why aren’t the poor getting richer like the rich are? Because the rich are almost always rich for a reason: They wanted to be. The poor, on the other hand, are quite content with their poverty. They might think they want to be rich, but they never actually try to become rich, because they either give up before their efforts produce, or they never try in the first place. Sadly, the latter is far more prevalent, making people who say “It’s unfair that the rich people are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer” total hypocrites.
Most middle and lower-class people are quite content with their standing in life; even a homeless person can make a home for himself in the bushes, living happily off of foodbank food and soup kitchen meals. There is no incentive for most people to become rich, because most people are content; perhaps they might be happier if they were rich, but they are not unhappy enough with the state of things to actively pursue it. In other words, despite equal opportunity for everyone to become rich, very few people are desperate enough to capitalize on that opportunity.
It should also be noted that the poorer are not getting poorer, as it might seem. One of the byproducts of capitalism is that money goes a lot further than it used to, as manufacture, distribution, and sales processes are far more efficient than they used to be, and competition forces companies to sell their products for relatively fair prices. In fact, the poorer are at least psychologically getting richer; so rich in fact that they are being spoiled rotten. In a land where even homeless people can live relatively happily not working a day of their lives, where is the incentive to become rich? There is none!
The opportunity is there, we’re just either too afraid (of failure) or too lazy to make use of it!