Friday, February 03, 2012

Blog #3: Israel Leads the Developed World in Social Injustice

    Over the past twenty five years, economic studies indicate that, a steady growth in inequality of incomes has taken place or become more abundant in almost all developed countries. The worst inequality growth curve is in Israel, which is a highly developed country. The average standard of living in Israel has remained the same over the past few decades, however, the position of the bottom 10% worsened, with its income declining by 1.1% a year in Israel. For the top 10% incomes actually rose by 2.4% a year. This means that the gap between the top 10% and the bottom 10% has grown by 3.5% a year, which is 14 to 1. In other developed countries it only grew by 0.6% a year. Though no studies have been done to figure out why this is, in Israel, a number of studies that have been done around the world indicate a number of reasons. Growth in inequality mainly comes from the labor market and in Israel inequality in gross and net pay has raised, yet there is a continuing decline in the employment and working hours of those with low employment qualifications. Uneducated workers compete with Chinese laborers, Thai laborers, and Philippine care givers, therefore, labor laws have been weakened; so an industry of contract workers and part-time employment have found that this contributes to the decline in wages, hours of work, and jobs for unskilled Israelis. There is a great challenge in dealing with these inequality problems, labor laws must be enforced. Otherwise, economic growth will be at risk.

    Though I agree that globalization, technological improvements, and poor regulation in the labor market are the three main factors in boosting inequality and that labor laws should be addressed, after leaning more and more about inequality in the workforce in class, I find social mobility to be way easier said than done. Since, the degree of mobility is related to the rate of growth in an economy and Israeli workers are competitively competing, it is hard to jump classes. For example, if parents have a male and female child, it is more likely that they’d choose their son rather than their daughter to go to college, which is due to the fact that women typically get paid less than men working the same job. Because college education plays a great factor in promoting social mobility, most unskilled workers are women which make it easier to pay less; creating more inequality. Also, because Israeli workers are competing so much with other laborers, simply quitting or going on strike is out of the question.

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