There is nothing that will stop the continued opportunities in this newly interconnected world. While this is a valid observation, there are still economic, cultural, and societal inequities that relegate people groups to an underclass that is unable to remain relevant or competitive.
The Credit Suisse’ Global Wealth Report 2015 stated that half of the world’s assets are controlled by 1% of the global population and that “the lower half … collectively owns less than 1% of global wealth.” The average income of the richest 19% of the population who are members of Economic Co-operation and Development (CECD) is approximately nine times that of the poorest 10%. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016, points to the risks between rising wealth disparity and social instability, unemployment and, underemployment.
In contrast to this, Atkinson, Hasell Morelli, and Roser’s The Chartbook of Economic Inequality (Oxford Martin School) reports that even though global income inequality has increased for two centuries, primarily due to the emergence of new economies, inequality is now falling. However, even in countries experiencing rapid growth, competitive disparities still exist.
There are three strategies to address the inevitability of change. The first is adoption. This approach embraces change or at least accepts it as the way of life. The world changes and we have to change with it. Second is adaption. The idea of change and its inevitability is acknowledged and while not embraced it is accepted as being a necessary part of staying relevant and competitive. The final approach is to attack. This tactic is more complex and involves a mix of ideology, paranoia, myopia and the isolation of denial. It is the third option that drives the bulk of competitive inequalities. Access disparity is a result of attitudes, traditionalism, or ideologies that resist change.
The relentless integration of technology also impacts the concept of identity by diminishing self-reflection, empathy, and compassion. In addition, ontological inequity, which is the separation of those who adapt or adopt from those who attack, inevitably creates winners and losers. The winners benefit from human improvements and the losers suffer because of their rejection. The division and the tension it potentially causes class discontent, derision, and violence.
“The hour is ill which severs those it should unite”, picked from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Good-Night, shares its meaning with the way people deal with change. Instead of the vision of change as being a disruptive dictator, it can be a benevolent emancipator. The world is moving toward unity but not uniformity.