The Entrenched Disadvantage of Those Who Render Others Unequal

We women speak of the glass ceiling but whatabout the steal enforced class walls erected to ensure poverty exists.  This is what ensures that the jobs not in demand are done.  When I hear words of inequality I understand deeply the psychological walls that render some ‘in’ and others ‘out’ or competitively those ‘with us’ or ‘against us’.  It is all the same thing, exclusion or discrimination.

The outgoing Productivity Commissioner Peter Harris calls it ‘entrenched disadvantage’ I call it the unemployment trap that is like a declining spiral.  The less you have the less money you have.  The more you have the more you get, such is investment.  Moreover, those who perceive you as wealthy respond differently as greed silently evaluates you ‘up and down’ in their interest or not. given money is value and value is income and income is power this is how the food chain works.  In truth it is a chain not a bond of friendship but a weight that renders people stuck in poverty unable to move. For some it becomes a ball and chain. The label continues to generate perceived disadvantage.  For me I never see myself as disadvantaged even with a $1 in my account, I see infinite possibility and curiosity in where I will end up as I am not in control nor into control.  I allow life to be my guide and disadvantage for me becomes an advantage as I can move anywhere at anytime.

I also regard the entrenched disadvantage in those who exclude others and ignore social and economic unfairness. No-one feels comfortable passing a homeless person on the street, so they make up a narrative to say it is their fault rather than a social/economic externality based on the structure and believed norms, unquestioned.  I see the disadvantage in not knowing thyself and being true and not reaching out to those who find themselves without enough to eat or barely enough to feel warm or a safe place to live. It is this type of disadvantaged attitude that entrenches inequality.

We live in a world that makes up prices to accord value based on material demands and supply but not on human needs and desires.  This prices can be inflated through marketing, the advent of scarcity, the diminishment of unseen virtues and self interest that sees only its own interests at the expense (literally) of others.

However, inequality is the human tipping point of collapse.  Inequality is about superiority and inferiority based on eroneous assumptions.  This is how we create winners and losers rather than equal playing fields where all get to play and we all learn from the game.  We all leave the field having had a good innings. However, the desire to win is what creates ‘loss’ and this is about ego and identity, the greatest delusion. We are all born equal and leave the planet equal, in fact we recognise the purpose of life was about experience not accumulation in truth.  I would ask what have you learned?  I am interested in abundance not money as that tells me whether you have questioned sufficiently, whether you had the courage to take risks?  whether you were enthusiastic about life and went into wild and free?  I am interested in the content of your character not the content of your bank account, that means nothing to me.  Money comes and goes but character is etched into the face of people who have lived.  Wisdom is the real wealth of life experience that money cannot buy. My life is rich with experience but I own nothing and I couldn’t be happier with my light footprint and the fact I have the courage to yield and surrender in trust.

Overtime, we have not grown or evolved sufficiently to understand ‘what you do to another returns to the self’, ‘we are one family’, ‘what we give returns 10 fold’ and that life is giving all the time and so on.  We live primarily in a poverty mentality far more expanded at the top of wealth than at the bottom.  To be mean spirited is to believe in loss.  To be generous is to expand abundance as a result of giving.  We are perpetually accounting debits and credits without any undertanding that real wealth is not one minus the other, it is the expansion of the pie as life is indeed abundant.  Philsophy helps one to breach the banks of limited thinking to explode myths and reach for higher truths that can extract us from the malaise of our own making.

This article explores disadvantage, the indifference in Canberra and the ignorance around how through structures and disconneciton we amplify this situaiton that could easily be removed in an advanced civilisation.  We speak in terms of economic growth as if this is the only Mount Olympus when there are vistas far more compelling then winning over others but indeed winning with otheres.  That is my vision as I work with the inequality thrust onto myself through principle as I will not participate in the poverty of unkindness and corruption.

I do not believe either party will resolve this, I believe civil society must be the instigator and the leader that leads by example and if confronted with poverty or disadvantage considers sharing wealth that in truth belongs to no-one.  Life has gifted everything we have for free, it is we that cause scarcity by pricing it.  The cyber world is the boon for those who want to put a price on invisible unreal worlds so that there life is a symbol of scucess.  The greatest success is in giving it all away and living in authenticity.  These are the ones I am waiting for.

Camelot always comes up for me in relation to true equality.  This is an interesting link to another of my blogs.

Millions of Australians stuck in entrenched disadvantage

Shane WrightThe West Australian

Shane Wright

Illustration: Don Lindsay
Illustration: Don Lindsay

As the tragic circus that is the Federal Government played on in Canberra, there was a rallying call of sort.

It won’t be acted on … at least not any time soon as our elected officials try to save their pay cheques and perks in the wake of an increasingly angry and despondent voting public.

But the effort of outgoing chairman of the Productivity Commission, Peter Harris, to get anyone to care about a very real issue was worth seeing.

Harris has been head of the commission for the past five years and will soon finish his term.

His last hurrah was a report that the commission — often associated with pure economic theory and the benefits of competition — itself started. It was on one of the most political questions of recent years, inequality.

The findings on that issue were mixed.

Income inequality, while increasing up to the peak of the resources boom, had edged down over recent years. Over the long term it had inched up a little.

Wealth inequality, however, had shown a sizeable lift up to 2015-16 with much of that again tied to the mining boom.

Comparing the two, wealth is twice as unequally distributed across all Australians than income although by international standards this nation is still pretty equal.

For those wanting to launch into the equality wars the report gives a little to both sides.

But in one area, and the area that grabbed most of Harris’ attention, the results were clear-cut.

Harris described the situation as “entrenched disadvantage”.

He said that despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth about 2.2 million people, many of them children, were suffering levels of poverty, material deprivation or social exclusion.

“For two million or so people we are where we were 30 years ago,” Harris said. “The proportion of our society doing very poorly should have reduced over that 30 years.”

Think about that for a second.

Over three decades, and despite the country getting richer and richer, there are a group of people who have effectively gone nowhere.

What’s the point of economic growth, of more “stuff” and higher incomes if there are a big number of people excluded from that?

The PC’s report found that people in single-parent families, the unemployed, the disabled and the indigenous were more likely to suffer income poverty, deprivation and social exclusion.

“For people in these circumstances, there is an elevated risk of economic disadvantage becoming entrenched, limiting their potential to seize economic opportunities or develop the skills with which to overcome these conditions,” the commission said.

The report actually makes a case that Australians are relatively mobile, over time, through income groups.

But there are clear cases of “stickiness”.

Those at the bottom are more prone to stay there. And many of those at the top of the income tree were still there 15 years later.

Of those at the bottom, just 7 per cent managed to make it into the top half of income earners over that 15-year period.

Social exclusion, the inability to participate fully in ordinary community activities and a key part of entrenched disadvantage, has shown a small but sustained increase since 2012.

That goes to another issue teased out by the commission.

The income of your father still has a big say in your economic outcomes.

While Australia does much better than many other nations, if a father’s lifetime earnings are 10 per cent above the average of his generation then his son’s lifetime earnings will be between 2 per cent and 4 per cent above his generation’s.

Or, from another perspective, a son is four times more likely to be in the top 10 per cent of income earners if his father was among the top 5 per cent rather than the bottom 5 per cent.

And while the PC did find the smallest of increases in income inequality, it did find one area of intergenerational inequality.

Young people — those aged between 15 and 34 — have not had income gains since 2009-10. They are the only group not to see a lift in income growth through that period.

Go back to the period between 2003 and 2009, however, and this group had some of the biggest income gains.

Something’s going on in this space but the PC is not exactly sure what.

It may be related to increased job competition in this space, particularly from international students, but there’s been a lift in migration across almost every age group (where there have been income increases).

Harris actually made a pitch for the PC to be requested by the Government to look at possible policy responses in this one area.

He said a “root-and-branch” review of all policies to help these people was necessary given the failure of major programs to lift people out of poverty.

Admitting it would be complex and difficult, any solution is likely to involve so-called “handmade” policy.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a type of example of this policy response but in the case of these two million or so people it would be very intense and probably expensive.

But it would be worth doing if our policymakers really believe in helping the most disadvantaged help themselves.


From the PC’s point of view there are two concerns.

One is about social cohesion.

Harris made explicit mention of the issues plaguing the US, Britain and Europe where the political system is fragmenting in response to the financial fissures splitting communities.

That, he said, had yet to occur here in Australia (though the breakdown in support for the major parties would suggest we’re not far away from that point).

The other issue is the waste. The waste of human potential, the ability of people to contribute to their society, and the potential waste of young lives.

That waste can manifest itself in costs to the wider community. If you want an example, have a look at the increasing imprisonment rates in WA.

The commission talks about not only depleted wallets but also “impoverished lives”.

The circus of Canberra over recent weeks has garnered lots of headlines.

But there are real issues that need addressing by whichever party is in power.

Mohandas Gandhi

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”