The Role of Education In Fighting Inequality

Term Paper, 2014

15 Pages




Forms of Inequality

Political democracy and Social Inequality

Some Measure Of Equality Is Necessary And Desirable

John Marsh’s Argument.

Grounds For Some Acceptable Level Of Equality




The presence of unequal opportunities and incentives for varied social statuses in a community or a state sums up my definition, which is open to debate, of inequality. These include the unequal distribution of resources and the distribution that is based on already established patterns that have been socially defined. In this context, there are categories of people in a given society and resources are distributed based on the category into which the people fall.

Because of the inequalities in the society, the people at the upper classes would be always ahead of those in the lower-class. Those at the lower-class will therefore find it hard to abridge the wide gap between the classes. Some have said that education is the only way up the social ladder. A few however, refute the claim that no one needs to be educated to avoid poverty. That is education is no guaranteed solution for the inequalities

They say, we cannot run to education as the only solution to poverty. Going to institutions of higher learning to find a way out of poverty or social problems should be out of anyone’s mind (Marsh, p12). However, such mentality is not in its entirety justifiable as the power of education cannot be underestimated. Education may not be the only way out, but at least it has a bearing on the overall call for equality. Having said this, my paper finds out and its main purpose is to provide a justification that education may be in one way or another, a way out of inequality and poverty as would be argued in the rest part of this paper.

Forms of Inequality

There are various categories of inequalities in the current society. Jobs are not available to everyone in the society. Not everyone that is employed is paid well or rather, has a better pay. The system of taxation in itself promotes inequalities as taxation is not based on what anyone has but is same for everyone be it the rich or the poor (Aaron, Henry J. and Munnell, Alicia H., 1992, 120-125). The upper and lower classes are taxed equally resulting in a much wider gap between the rich and the poor (Allingham, M., 1975; p365-367)

Those in poverty are thus to remain in poverty unless something is done to solve this increasing current day social injustice. In most states different classes of people are positioned differently to gain access to social resources such as the labor market among other sources of income. Even education is strategized so as to be accessed differently by the different classes of the society. Healthcare is also accessible to different classes differently.

Those who cannot afford specialized medication seem to be left to share the common health care to the extent that there have been efforts by the Barack Obama administration commonly referred to as ObamaCare. The ObamaCare seeks to avail to the Americans affordable and accessible healthcare. Most of these social inequalities are dictated by a variety of factors, citizenship and geographical position being some of them.

In the health departments for instance, the escalating death rates are directly linked to the significant difference in incomes for different social classes.

The same applies to the distribution of violent crimes that are widespread and are attributed to the difference in income distribution. Many low income-mothers cannot afford a market-based childcare, which contributes to inequality by cutting on the number of employed mothers. These unemployed mothers have no other sources of generating income. This has a negative impact on the child care in terms of provision of health care and educational achievement (Meyers et al, 2004).

Politically, people are demoralized from taking part in politics as a result of the stratification of the political field. This is a strategy used by those in better off classes so as to stay at the peak of the social pyramid (Wolf, (2000). With all these being noticed, it is evident that there is the need for a solution to these problems.

Political democracy and Social Inequality

The main question here would be if the argument that political democracy has had any impact on social inequality is valid. What role has political democracy played in the battle for social equality? A recurring theme in comparative social analyzes has been that the growth of political democracy, with its emphasis on political equality, has resulted in more widespread social material balance (Bertram, Christopher, 1993, p 215). Finding the truth of this statement is one of my agenda in this paper. Democratic performance on social justice is the assumption that political equality is a significant feature of more democratic countries (Fleurbaey, Marc, 1995; p33).

This has a definite inclination to equality as some of the like-minded people in a given society would come together and have their pleas represented. “…in democracies, the right of organized political opposition is protected by law and custom. And such countries permit disadvantaged elements in the population to organize and engage in collective action on their own (Frank, Jill, 1998; p 791). With these, a neutral ground the same way their counterparts are given.

In the same way, there are a number of channels through which the less favored groups can use to redistribute resources more equitably. Thus such a provision gives each of the members of the society a chance to lead an equal life thereby excluding any elements of inequity.

However, there is more to this. In countries where the so-called upper-class control the means to political power, then this would be a mere rhetoric in the name of other channels being available as an alternative to inequality. Those in lower-class would never come close to the upper-class and would ever be under the control of the upper class who control the means of production, the means to power, influence the media and can as well go to the extent of funding political campaigns and have a say in the government policies if they succeed politically. It follows therefore that such laws or provisions on living positively despite the class that you belong to in no way would they save the inequality problem and therefore it is mere rhetoric.

Some Measure Of Equality Is Necessary And Desirable

As aforesaid, there is no doubt that some measure of equality is necessary and actually desirable. Coming up with a way to reduce and eradicate present day inequalities would be necessary. Education, healthcare, satisfying jobs and political participation should be structured such that everyone can equally have access without prejudice. As one may see current inequality issues as just a passing cloud, we should brace ourselves for divisions based on economic inequalities (Neckerman, 2004).

That The Resolution To The Problem Of Widening Inequality Lies In Expanding The Field Of Educational Opportunity Most of the disadvantaged children in the Americas are brought up with no life skills. Some people are so fixed that with or without education, inequality would still exist. They go ahead to claim that even if everyone had the same financial status, there would still be inequality. But the role of education cannot be underestimated in the push for social equality. The purpose of education has been emphasized as a means to a fair and just society (Callaghan, 1976). The same has been echoed by politicians to stress that education and social justice are so linked that lack of education would mean there would never be social justice. It is worth noting that there can be no justice in a society if education if disregarded as an essential element to achieving a just society (Fleurbaey, Marc, 2005;p 190).

Setting education aside in the inequality battle would be like trying to construct a ladder without rungs. Social mobility depends on steps that can only be likened to the rungs of a ladder that necessitate the upward movement of individuals in a society (Brown, 2010). Attaining a world class education system has been said to be the key to reducing social inequality.

What is just or rather, justice entails giving to each other what is rightly due to each other (Miller, quoting Emperor Justinian, 2003, 76). Everyone should be given what is due to them. Different people are thus to be treated differently implying that those who may be likened to the sick need more attention and resources as compared to those that are healthy and well off.

Most people believe, and I also think that education is the foundation for a satisfactory life. Education is the basis for a fulfilling life. For a society to be filled with enlightenment it has to embrace education as it is the only guarantee for a strong economy and a safe nation (NCCE, 1983). This brings me to the crucial part, which is the importance of education. Education moulds boys into men and girls into responsible and hardworking women. The importance of such an educated and informed society would help nurture a nation that is working as one for the economic development of the entire society. Skilled workforce would be molded through education. Also of vital importance is the contribution of education towards development of best economic policies (Brown, 2007).

The core purpose of going to school is to promote human flourishing (Brighouse, 2006, 42). The role education plays in children is one that helps them become self-governing individuals (Brighouse, 2006, 131). Through education, children who comprise majority of the world population would appreciate the importance of a world free from inequalities. Providing education to everyone would ensure that everyone utilizes the most important foundation stone to becoming who they want to be in life. Everyone would have a neutral starting ground to launch their future ambitions (Brown, 2007).

John Marsh’s Argument.

It is indeed true that education does not fully guarantee a way out of poverty. By claiming that more young should enter the trades rather than attend college he asserts the importance of not viewing education as a promise for a brighter future (p 13). It only prepares one to become a responsible member of the society. We have seen many who are educated yet they still have no jobs. Or even if they had a job, they were underpaid. Such a statement justifies Marsh’s notion that expanding formal education may on its own, bring about individual economic advancement but would not be helpful in its entirety.

Economic progress would not be a result of more established school system. It may be much better off if political intervention and transformations are also realized. Without a proper political system, the people may be fed up with poor pay and end up being frustrated and disappointed by the political elite. Unacceptable economic inequality would therefore, only be overcome if and when the different social, economic and political organizations come together and lay a plan for the general advancement in all aspects of the social society.


Excerpt out of 15 pages


The Role of Education In Fighting Inequality
University of Nairobi  (Law)
Social Foundations of Law
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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476 KB
Arguments For Equality And The Role Of Education In Achieving Equality
role, education, fighting, inequality
Quote paper
Counsel Mayabi (Author), 2014, The Role of Education In Fighting Inequality, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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