Hey friends, let me apologize for my recent absence on my blog. I haven’t had any burning and well-articulate thoughts so I have mostly remained silent. However, with the rise of a recent viral video, I want to comment on wealth distribution in America.
Last november I stumbled upon the chart below, which details the actual wealth distribution in America, the perceived wealth distribution and the ideal wealth distribution. It’s clear that the ideal is as far away from the perceived as our perception is from reality. There is a huge income gap in America, which not only kills the lower class, but shrinks the middle class–the backbone of an economy. Without a strong middle class, an economy slows to a halt, and the cash flow is severely limited.
As a member of the middle class, I certainly hope that the distribution would be a little more evenly skewed, but as a follower of Christ it breaks my heart to know that the poor have literally nothing. Senseless greed keeps the broken in poverty-shameful to say the least. Further to the point, in January I read an article which reported that the richest 100 people in the world have a net worth of 240 billion dollars, enough money to end world poverty world poverty 4 times over. As cliche as it may sound, God made enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. Unfortunately, broken people come with a behavior patterns that drives them into poverty. A simple redistribution of wealth without large-scale correction of behavior patterns and concept of money would never end poverty in the real world, so I would never advocate for sudden shift in wealth. To recognize that some people have so much when others have nothing is a great cause for concern. To do nothing about the poverty crisis is a great cause for conviction.
The video below talks through wealth inequality based on the above chart.
This should be a concern for anyone. Everyone outside of the 10% is doing worse than they would in an ideal wealth distribution But even in the near future a member of the top 1% may see the value of his investments drop as the economy tanks based on wealth inequality (though he is at little to no risk to lose his livelihood).
As pertinent as this information for individuals in America, this should be much more startling for the Church. This is a justice issue that the Bible clearly articulates as an injustice to be corrected. Passages such as Matthew 25:35-40, Proverbs 19:17, Luke 4:18-19, and many others make that evident. However, with the growing income gap and poverse population, it is clear that the church is either unaware of this God-given task, aware and not trying, or pitifully trying and failing. Not to detract from churches that are effectively battling poverty, but the American Church as a whole is so syncretically deceived by materialism and the American Dream that the prophets Hosea and Amos (The two 8th century BC prophets who wrote about syncretic worship and injustice to the nation of Israel) head’s would spin. In my next blog, I am going to adress how the American population at large and the church can get involved in battle poverty.