Skip to content

The Problem Is not Inequality, It Is Poverty


[Leer en español]

Always be wary of anyone who tells you that inequality is the problem. The problem is poverty, not inequality. And poverty is eliminated by generating wealth, not by distributing misery. This is an irrefutable truth. Poverty has never been solved with social programs and state handouts; a country has never achieved economic growth with many public enterprises. In short, human beings’ welfare and independence have never been achieved through socialism. All economic theory studies have always reached the same conclusion: the only way to fight poverty is to generate economic growth.

Since the data regarding the annihilation of poverty by capitalism, compared to socialism, are irrefutable, then the left had to come up with a new discourse: “the problem is not so much poverty, it is inequality”.

To begin with, equality should be considered the first crime against humanity; inequality should be a constitutional right, a human right guaranteed by international treaties, the individuality of human beings, their independence and freedom to act, work and achieve their goals, according to their own interests and performance. In short, that freedom to worship, idiosyncrasy, language, customs, and interests that the left so often brings up when it suits it, but which they contradictorily annul when they take power and eliminate private enterprise, individual initiatives and get involved in education, health, and the rest of human activities.

In Cambodia, in the Communist state presided by Pol-Pot, all girls, boys, and adults had their hair cut in the same way, and all were dressed alike by the Khmer Rouge; the purpose of this was to turn the individual into a sheer mass, suppress critical thinking, completely annul the capacity for self-determination, and of course, invoke an “egalitarian” state; where only those in the hierarchy of the regime had the benefits of being able to eat a decent plate of food or sleep in a bed under a roof.

A study by Just Facts, a non-profit institute dedicated to researching and publishing verifiable facts about the critical public policy issues of our time, found that the poorest 20% of Americans are richer than most people in much of Europe, meaning that if America’s poor were a nation, it would be one of the richest in the world.

"*" indicates required fields

Should Joe Biden resign?*
This poll gives you free access to our premium politics newsletter. Unsubscribe at any time.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

In fact, in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis published a study that, in combination with World Bank data for the same year, shows that the poorest 20% of households in the U.S. have a higher average consumption per person than the averages for all people in most OECD nations and Europe:

poverty - usa - el american

Since data and statistics are conclusive at the time of offering points of view, since it is no longer a matter of opinion, but of reality, the discourse of resentment by which socialism is protected raised the flag of inequalities; and it is true, the social gaps between capitalist and socialist states are not very wide, in fact, in the middle of 2019 a serious crisis broke out in Chile as a result of “inequalities.”

Leftist fanatics accused the most prosperous country in the region of having a failed model and asked to change the Constitution to promote a socialist Constitution; the truth is that inequality data in Chile are equivalent to those of Bolivia, according to the Gini index: in Chile, it stands at 46.6, and in Bolivia in 44, to cite an example, with the small difference that the Chilean economy has a GDP per capita 3.3 times higher than that of the Bolivians, and not even compare the economic data with countries like Cuba and Venezuela, with a deeper and more statized socialism than the Bolivian one.

In Chile, under the false flag of inequality and motivated by the increase of the subway fare, a social conflict broke out that left people dead and demanded the resignation of the center-right president, Sebastián Piñera, who increased the subway fare by 30 pesos (0.04 cents); less than half of what had been increased by his predecessor, the socialist Michelle Bachelet, who had raised it by 80 pesos.

While under the socialist president there was no discontent expressed in the streets, under Piñera there was a violent day that forced the president to decree a curfew that left deaths, numerous lootings and the destruction of more than 70 subway stations in Santiago de Chile, ruining the best mass transportation system in the continent.

In spite of the fact that President Piñera withdrew the measure to increase fares, the social-communists continued in the streets, with vandalism protests, fires, looting and groups that “demonstrated” dressed in leather and inserting objects in their anus, having sadomasochistic sex in the middle of public streets with children around; including, activists sent from Venezuela and Cuba to foment chaos in the most developed country in South America.

A very important fact to understand how the narrative is able to impose itself over the truth, indicates that from July 2006 to March 2018, the salary in Chile had grown 2.13 %, while the subway fare had grown only 1.86 %.

Myths about inequality

We must be very insistent that the only way to fight poverty is by creating wealth, and the only way to fight inequality is by promoting education, work and liberties. Public spending or subsidies will never reduce social gaps; and yet, it is always important to take for granted and clarify that inequalities are inherent to human beings, and not only economic inequalities, but inequalities of thought, culture, sexuality, among others.

Therefore, no state can exist without inequalities. What we have to work for is for societies to be increasingly richer and the income table to equalize upwards, as happens in capitalist states, and not downwards, as happens in socialist ones, such as Venezuela, a nation in which approximately 80% of the population earned less than 10 dollars a month in 2019; unlike Chileans, whose minimum wage is $447, the highest in South America; also highlighting that many economic players in the country pay amounts above that figure so that the lowest average salary in Chile ends up being between $550 and $650.

Other devastating data to demolish the myth of the failure of the Chilean model of open markets is provided by the CASEN survey base (MDS) and UNDP, which indicate that in 1996 42.1% of Chilean society was poor, while by 2019 this value had fallen to less than 8%.

Inequality can never be considered an index to measure successes or failures. Inequality exists and will always exist, simply because all human beings think differently. If siblings born of the same father and mother, who grew up with the same opportunities, raised with the same values and principles, when they reach a stage of maturity, have different professions, different incomes, and different ways of leading their lives, how can we pretend to equalize millions of individuals, a whole society, a whole country?

This article is part of Emmanuel Rincón’s book “The Ideological Reinvention of Latin America

Emmanuel Rincón is a lawyer, writer, novelist and essayist. He has won several international literary awards. He is Editor-at-large at El American // Emmanuel Rincón es abogado, escritor, novelista y ensayista. Ganador de diversos premios literarios internacionales. Es editor-at-large en El American