58% of India’s wealth rests in the hands of 57 people. That’s right, a mere 57 people hold more money than the rest of the country combined.
What does that mean? It means that you’ve been led to believe that hard work will eventually make you rich enough to buy a Lamborghini. Well, guess what? It won’t. Luxury products are produced by the rich, for the rich – not for those stuck in 9 to 5 jobs – not for those who actually work.
According to Oxfam, the global NGO that works for income equality, 57 billionaires in India have the same wealth as the rest of the country – $216 billion. Led by Mukesh Ambani who currently accounts for $19.3 billion, Dilip Sanghvi with $16.7 billion, and Azim Premji with $15 billion. This is the very definition of an unfair and unequal distribution of wealth among a country’s population. This literally means that all the poverty and hunger in India can be fixed by simply improving the equitable distribution of wealth. Income inequality in India has never been worse, and the future has never looked bleaker.
People are led to believe that their salaries, year-on-year, would keep increasing and making them wealthier – totally ignoring the fact that everything ELSE also gets more expensive year-on-year and not just because of inflation. Salaries are always kept just a little bit above the rate of inflation and the cost of living, enabling people to save just a little more each year, but never enough to buy that Lamborghini, mind you.
The entire country wakes up and goes to work each day, but we don’t realise who exactly it is we work for. All the effort we put in at our corporate 9 to 5 jobs has immense benefit to our employers, who re-evaluate our worth once a year and pay us a pittance in comparison to their own net incomes/profits. This is clearly evidenced by the immense disparity between the incomes of the rich and the working class.
How do they do this? Well, there’s a good chance you’re reading this at work. The very definition of the word ‘work’ has become adulterated in our modern world to mean ‘the quest for wealth’ rather than ‘the quest for fulfilment and sustainability’. What does one do after attaining this elusive concept of ‘wealth’ (apart from buying shiny things)? Well, we haven’t planned that far ahead, have we? This undefined and vague quest feeds the vice of greed that’s present in all humans – and in our quest for wealth, we will lose our empathy and forsake our humanity.
This inequality and lust for wealth has degraded basic human values to the extent that expensive high-rises with individual pools are built overlooking slums which have communal toilets.
The rich do not remain rich through any effort of their own – other than the effort they put into ensuring the system stays the way it is by silencing dissent, discouraging competition and manipulating the law in a way that benefits themselves.
This income inequality is not just a problem in India, as Oxfam reports that the richest 10% of the population in Indonesia, China, Laos, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, too, have seen their income rise by more than 15%. The remaining 90% of the people in these countries still strive in hopes that they will one day thrive – but the system is structured in a way that ensures that the rich will always remain rich, and the working class will always remain the working class – working for the rich.