An alternative response to income inequality

Which side of the divide do you occupy: materialism or minimalism? Do you obsess over owning new things and having the latest, hottest tech? Or do you religiously scorn the cult(ure) of materialism and constantly try to de-clutter your life? I don’t think it matters, because the funny thing is that both sides of this divide have something in common; they’re both obsessed with possessions. Materialists want to accumulate them and minimalists want to get rid of them. Really, it’s better to sit in the middle, purchasing if you need to and not if you don’t.

There’s a similar thing going on with the war concerning income inequality. There’s a minority of people accumulating the majority of the wealth in the world and there are people opposing this state of affairs, saying that wealth should be evenly distributed across the entirety of society. Doesn’t this seem like a rehashing of the materialist-vs-minimalist debate? Those who are for the conditions that allow income inequality to develop and those who are against them are both united by their obsession on a single thing; wealth.

Ultimately, the competition is between the resource-rich minority and the resourceful-by-necessity majority. But how to break the deadlock, or eradicate the debate altogether? Here’s an idea. Robert Greene’s thirty-sixth law of power is “Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them is the best revenge.”

“By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.”

​Perhaps this strategy of utter indifference is one that can be deployed by those fighting income inequality? If they were to focus their efforts less on righting a wrong distribution and more on things like free education, free healthcare and free childcare, wouldn’t income inequality become irrelevant? If we can build a culture that 1) recognises the fruitlessness of the accumulation of massive wealth and 2) stops glorifying and making heroes of the rich wouldn’t massive income disparities be a moot point? If we all had enough wouldn’t we stop being bothered by those who have more?