The world is more interconnected than ever before and that globalization’s unprecedented growth touches everyone. This unparalleled evolution has a dramatic positive impact on the world’s lifestyles but it can also present a paradox, a danger of two worlds, which must be acknowledged and addressed.
Income inequities and wealth distribution polarize economic systems causing an imbalance. Wealth moves to a smaller group of people with already high incomes leading to their increased opportunity. However, growth in the middle class begins to happen from the top down as a result of decreased access. Lower income populations grow larger and income challenged workers move off the grid into the “hidden workforce” isolated from mainstream economic access.
Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett, in their book, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equity Makes Societies Stronger, report that data indicates unequal societies tend to be more violent, have higher numbers of people in prison, experience greater levels of mental illness and obesity, have lower life expectancies, and lower levels of trust.
Today’s civilly divergent ideologies, theologies, and realities are widespread and can be traced directly to the presence of income inequity. In a world with abundant resources, technology, and instant information there exists an unacknowledged agenda that strengthens inequity rather than reducing it. Individual rather than collective benefits have been “baked into” common thinking.
The reliance on old models and the reluctance to change remains a challenge with people most unable to bear the cost. They end up being burdened with it. Cultural, ethnic, racial, historic, and ideological reluctance to change continues to marginalize people groups worldwide.
The new equalizer in the world is technology. Two-thirds of the world’s population have cell phones and it is predicted that 90% over the age of six will have one by 2020. This broods innovation driving the emergence of previously disregarded countries onto the global stage. Places like China, India, and Indonesia contain more than a third of the world’s population and consumers. Emerging economies are staged to dominate the world’s economy.
Today’s workforce is young, well-educated, technologically adept, and finds it simple to find opportunity anywhere regardless of borders or cultures. They come to the table with much more cultural exposure and cultural sensitivity than their parents. They are less concerned about borders and more concerned about intrinsic value, experience, and social worth. They expect a world where there are no lines between technology and humanity and income equity is the expectation.
Unless reversed by some catastrophic events the interconnectivity of the world will not retreat. It remains to be seen if we can bake a new common wisdom into our consciousness. A common worldview that is driven by the basic values of humanity and equity. This equitable thinking will tackle the inequities that have plagued the world for millenniums.