Powered by ProofFactor - Social Proof Notifications

Understanding and Addressing Inequality in Contemporary Europe

Dec 28, 2022 | 0 comments

blog banner

Dec 28, 2022 | Essays | 0 comments


Europe as a continent has grown into a significantly dominant framework for regulation, generation, and perception of social inequalities (Russell 2017, p.6). Russell (2017, p.7) describes this global as significantly solidified by the ongoing economic crisis defined by the rising inequalities between Europe’s peripheral and central groups and countries.
Analysis of the attempts to understand and eradicate inequality in European society will bring a better enlightening to the subject matter (Jackman 1995, p.6). Moreover, according to Sen (1997, p.2), identifying and clearly defining the distinct inequalities in our societies that are misunderstood and misjudged in the different social spaces will bring a significantly better comprehension of contemporary Europe’s dynamics as well as patterns of inequality.
Furthermore, an analysis of Europe’s current unemployment issue concerning the consequential income loss of the unemployed population will enable a more precise solution to contemporary Europe’s issues. Sen (1997, p.8) mentions that to bring to light further the underlying issue of inequality and employment, a vivid comparison of the United and Europe will assist enormously.

Inequality Eradication of inequality According to Heidenreich (2016, p.19), inequality has been classified into economic and social inequality over the years. Heidenreich (2016, p.19) states that social or economic inequality portrays a negative picture of Europe to the rest of the world. Therefore, I believe it creates a challenge to the eradication of inequality despite it being a significantly costly exercise for Europe. The fact that the definition of eradication is not well defined and agreed to is the greatest obstacle to effectively eradicating inequality not only in Europe but globally as well. A great debate has emerged amongst professionals attempting to take up the challenge of inequality eradication globally.

Lawless, Martin, and Hardy (2004, p.36), argue that, in reality, different variables determine the definition of inequality. As such, the existence of different and somewhat contrasting interpretations of inequality brings contests on how to deal with the issue. I believe that Europe is doing a great deal towards trying to significantly reduce the rising rate of inequality and eventually, hopefully, entirely eradicate inequality as a whole. However, the first step Europe should take toward eradicating inequality is to accept that inequality cannot be defined by one interpretation.

Europe should begin tackling eradication by dealing singularly with each variable leading to inequality. Otherwise, Europe’s significant attempts to deal with inequality will remain substantially futile. Furthermore, Sen (1997, p. 13) mentions that inequalities when it comes to incomes may differ significantly from inequalities in quite a number of the other variables, otherwise known as ‘spaces.’ Variables in determining the definition of inequality include freedom, well-being, and a vast range of quality-of-life factors. Therefore, Europe should have its primary interest pitched in variable inequalities, raising a debate on the prioritization of the variables. With the vivid difference in variables and their inequalities, there are contesting needs in policy implications as well (Sen 1997, p.14). Jackman (1995, p.20) acknowledges that the contrast between the specific inequalities should be conceptualized as per the different spaces. For instance, inequalities in income levels may relate to political freedom inequalities, whereas inequality in the health sector may have no relation to either of the two. Thus, I strongly believe the difference in the conceptualization of the diverse spaces may hold great importance in policy-making decisions (Jackman (1995, p.20).

Inequality Spaces Europe needs to distinctly judge inequality as per the different existing spaces to tackle the growth of inequality in contemporary Europe effectively. I believe that for Europe to deal with inequality efficiently, they should deal with the root causes of inequality which is distinct in the particular spaces. Each space has different variable factors determined by its root causes. Viewing inequality as per its distinct and definitive spaces is critical because many different spaces wholly define inequality. Therefore, assuming a solution as a whole instead of making solutions per their different spaces is a futile way to tackle inequality and a great way of misleading people’s understanding of inequality and their various spaces. Thus, education on inequality and its various spaces is vital in Contemporary Europe. Inequality and Economics According to Greve (2016, p.44), there has been alarmingly significant negligence in policy strategizing and education on the inequality spaces. For instance, economic inequalities are presumed to have income distributions as their primary and central variable. At the same time, economic inequalities originate from many variables that enormously influence the population’s political freedoms, life qualities, and overall well-being (Sen 1997, p.15). Moreover, Europe’s unemployment growth has turned its perspective, and total income distribution is limited due to scarcity in numerous forms.

Berend (2017,p.35) expresses that the income losses resulting from employment are compensated through unemployment benefits, incentives as well as other channels of financial support. Nevertheless, financial aid by the Government’s transfer payment is substantially close, if not equivalent to the earnings attained through employment (Berend 2017, p.35). Besides inequalities in economics not being wholly defined by income distribution alone, income distribution holds a considerable portion of inequality in economics in determining the drift in social classes (Berend 2017, p.37). Berend (2017, p.37) further explains that the drift and levels of social classes are mainly determined by the purchasing power of individuals, which is directly related to income distribution.

Inequality and healthcare Sen (1997, p.21) states that inequalities in healthcare are not wholly dependent on inequalities in income. Sen (1997, p.21) explains that inequalities in health hold entirely different issues from inequalities in income, although they may be closely related. For instance, Russia faced a critically challenging health crisis in the past, where its hospital systems and medical services fell into a significant threat and breakdown. At the same time, Russia’s economy was at a firm growth rate, thus a moderate fall in the inequalities in income despite the healthcare sector breakdown crisis (Sen 1997, p.22). Thus only proving that inequality in the health sector has greater underlying causes besides inequalities in income distribution.

Therefore, I believe Europe should not drive its focus on dealing with inequality in the health sector on inequalities on income alone. But, essentially, they thrive on discovering the other underlying issues that lead to the growing inequalities in the health sector. According to Garcilazo (2007, p. 65), inequality in politics is determined by the population’s participation in politics. Garcilazo (2007, p.66) points out that Europe holds residence of people who are known to be patriotic and highly democratic. Despite that, I see that Europe has an alarmingly rising rate of inequalities in politics that has its origin and stronghold in the political processes and public policies.

As per Garcilazo (2007, p.66), participation in Europe’s population varies significantly between the cultural and social groups. Moreover, the difficulty involved in the alarmingly lengthy processes involved in legally settling immigrants causes a restriction on the immigrants’ political voting right and; slide lining them from Europe’s politics (Greve 2016, p.62). Therefore, Europe’s political processes limit the immigrants from their political freedoms. Solving the inequality issue in Europe will require inequalities in politics to be tackled first because if persistent, it may cause a significant setback in Europe’s progress, particularly in social integration. Unemployment
Unemployment has become one of Europe’s biggest nuisances (Wood 1994, p.56). Wood (1994, p.56) mentions that unemployment has become not only a massive threat to Europe’s economic growth but also a great threat to Europe’s social and political growth.
Over the past years, unemployment has caused drastic negative effects on contemporary Europe. Unemployment has brought about a vast range of adverse effects on Europe; these effects have significantly accumulated (Wood 1994, p.57).
It is critical to essentially comprehend the nature as well as the impact of unemployment to enable a more effective policy-making process.
Amongst the numerous impacts of unemployment in Europe are the following;

*Loss of potential GDP *

According to Fadda and Tridico (2016, p.62), employment is a hole in production that causes unnecessary loss of potential production. Reduction in production levels leads to a significant loss in the GDP. Furthermore, unemployed individuals require the Government’s support in providing for their families, thus leading to the utilization of resources that the individual does not reciprocate due to their unemployed state (Fadda and Tridico 2016, p.63).
*Technological growth*
The technology’s growth and development rate, particularly in Europe, is amazingly high. Therefore the rate of loss of employment due to technological embracement has risen significantly (Berend 2017, p.47). Every organization strives to keep up with the fast-changing pace of technology to maintain the quality of its products and compete with its competitors at the same level. Therefore, the jobs lost to the technology upgrades make the unemployed seem like collateral damage to achieving an organization’s objective (Berend 2017, p.47).

*Social exclusion *

Lack of employment automatically leads to limited resources, and as such limited and low purchasing and spending power for the entire unemployed population (Davis 1996, p.35). Davis (1996, p.36) points out that unemployment positions individuals in an invisible prison where they lack the freedom to make crucial financial decisions, especially since they are under social insurance support. Therefore, the unemployed are limited to spending on essential needs and cannot venture out to attend to other social needs, thus living under the social exclusion.
Davis (1996, p.35) defines social exclusion as living barred from the community’s activities, thus enhancing self-exclusion by forced choice.

*Psychological injury*

According to Cox and Mason (1999, p.51), unemployment runs a major cause of psychological hurt and damage to a considerable percentage of the unemployed. Cox and Mason (1999, p.51) point out that the longer one stays out of employment, the greater the risk of psychological injury.
Living without a source of income leads to high levels of stress that enhance morale and confidence demolition. Unemployment then becomes a major cause of alcoholism and drug addiction in Europe, especially amongst the unemployed youth.
However, the hardships associated with unemployment are reduced immensely with the help of the unemployment support system put in place by European governance (Berend 2017, p.48).

*Poor relationships*

According to Wood (1994, p.36), unemployment runs among the top causes of broken relationships. Wood (1994, p.36) expresses that unemployment is highly toxic regarding social relationships. Moreover, unemployment causes enormous and drastic drifts in most family setups. More often than not, the change in economic status leads to a drift between social friends (Wood 1994, p.37).

*Long-term skill loss*

When an individual stays out of employment for a long time, they eventually lose the skills attained through practice and specialization (Fadda and Tridico 2016, p.65). Moreover, skill runs on a depreciation scale, particularly in the absence of practice. Fadda and Tridico (2016, p.65) argue that skill depreciation may not only lead to skills attained lost, but it may eventually lead to an individual losing their self-confidence as well.

*Negativity toward potential prospects *

Lawless, Martin, and Hardy (2004, p.48) argue that the level of motivation loss during unemployment may have a lasting effect on an individual’s personality. Therefore, when they finally attain a job opportunity, they get into the job with low motivation levels, affecting their productivity and skill-picking process (Lawless, Martin, and Hardy 2004, p.48). Sen (1997, p.23) states that the adverse motivation effect is highly dominant in younger women.

*High mortality rate*

Sen (1997, p.23) points out that a great number of suicide victims were individuals who fell under the frustrations and hardships associated with living under unemployment. Moreover, several illnesses remain unknown until the stress drain causes an individual’s demise by living under the harsh conditions of unemployment (Sen 1997, p.23).

*Gender and racial inequality*

Wood (1994, p.39) argues that unemployment has grown its effects to become one of the primary causes of gender rifts as well as racial tensions. Wood (1994, p.39) further explains that in Europe, the most significant population affected by the alarming unemployment rates is minorities. The legalized immigrants, for instance, face a great deal of unhealthy competition for jobs in different organizations due to politically fed racism and intolerance.
Moreover, as per Wood’s (1994, p.39) argument, gender drifts are quickly becoming a great nuisance in Europe, particularly because employment in organizations tends to favor the male population compared to the female population. Unemployment in Europe and the United States
According to Bertola and Ichino (1995, p.39), Europe and the United States are both facing the great menace of exceedingly high unemployment rates in their countries. Bertola and Ichino (1995,p.39) point out that there are a number of contrasting views both Europe and the United States have concerning tackling the unemployment issue.
First, the United States shows questioningly minimal political commitment to policy implementations compared to Europe (Sen 1997, p.20). The American policies concerning health care for its whole population, even with no insurance nor any form of medical coverage, have faced great political resilience. At the same time, the American limitation on the Government’s support system is not likely to occur in Europe’s governance.
Secondly, the United States is more committed to a self-help culture where unemployment is highly discouraged. As such, there is a great fight against individuals living with no medical insurance (Sen 1997, p.20). The American culture has put up a great fight against the growth of poverty in its culture. At the same time, European governance works towards fighting for the protection of an individual’s welfare state and providing great support to its citizens.
Thirdly, Sen (1997, p.20) states that European governance tends to focus on making unemployment more tolerable rather than regrettable, whereas the United States governance lead in the opposite direction. American governance establishes and implements policies that somewhat increase the difficulty in attaining unemployment benefits, limiting the benefits to retirement benefits as well as disability benefits. Bertola and Ichino (1995, p.42) state that the living conditions of unemployment in Europe are much more bearable compared to the United States.
Therefore, the youth in America tend to be socialized to live in self-reliance; this is because they step out of school knowing unemployment is a difficult situation to live in and as such create goals for themselves and are psychologically prepared for the hustle whether employed or not (Bertola and Ichino 1995, p.43). On the other hand, a high percentage of Europe’s youth are socialized and familiar with dependence on the Government; therefore, they tend to be comfortable with unemployment. As a result, only a small number of the youth attain a drive towards hustling in case of unemployment (Bertola and Ichino 1995, p.43).
Furthermore, America has a substantially balanced implementation of the self-help concept. America has learnt over the years the balance between unnecessary losses and achieving its objectives in social ethics (Bertola and Ichino 1995, p.43). At the same time, Europe is still behind in establishing a minimal-cost loss self-help concept in its policies. According to Bertola and Ichino (1995, p.44), Europe tends to value its implemented social support; however, they have noticed the huge burden as well as the adverse effect it brings on the productivity of its population. Therefore, Europe has accepted the idea of adjusting their policies to efficiently work towards maintaining the welfare of the unemployed in society while striving towards minimal dependency. Conclusion
Europe is taking great strides toward tackling unemployment and inequality within its society. Unemployment has undoubtedly proven to be a great nuisance that is working against Europe’s economic, social, and political growth. Europe has embraced the self-help concept and has worked diligently towards assisting those within the unemployed population, although it has encouraged dependency instead of self-reliance amongst a considerable percentage of the unemployed population.
However, the negative impacts of unemployment and inequality are severe and have become extensive in the entire European society and should be dealt with as soon as possible. Tackling both issues, unemployment, and inequality, will undoubtedly pave the way to enhancing racial harmony, social integration, gender fairness, personal confidence, and overall work motivation. The fight against inequality and unemployment growth rates can only be powerful and more effective if fought by European Society and European governance.

Reference List

BEREND, T. I. (2017). The contemporary crisis of the European Union: prospects for the future.
BERTOLA, G., & ICHINO, A. (1995). Wage inequality and unemployment: US VS Europe. London, CEPR.
COX, T., & MASON, B. (1999). Social and economic transformation in East Central Europe: institutions, property relations, and social interests. Cheltenham, UK, E. Elgar.
DAVIS, D. R. (1996). Technology, unemployment, and relative wages in a global economy. Cambridge, MA, National Bureau of Economic Research. papers.nber.org/papers/w5636.
FADDA, S., & TRIDICO, P. (2016). Varieties of economic inequality.
GARCILAZO-CORREDERA, J. E. (2007). Regional labor markets: unemployment and inequality in Europe. Saarbrücken, VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.
GREVE, B. (2016). The Future of the Welfare State: European and Global Perspectives. Florence: Taylor and Francis.
HEIDENREICH, M. (2016). Exploring inequality in Europe: diverging income and employment opportunities in the crisis.
JACKMAN, R. (1995). Unemployment and wage inequality in OECD countries. London, Centre for Economic Performance. books.google.com/books?id=9o5XAAAAYAAJ.
LAWLESS, P., MARTIN, R., & HARDY, S. (2004). Unemployment and social exclusion: landscapes of labor inequality. Oxon [England], Routledge. www.tandfebooks.com/isbn/9781315000251.
RUSSELL, J. W. (2017). Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States. Blue Ridge Summit, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=5116590.
SEN, A. (1997). Inequality, unemployment and contemporary Europe. London, Development Economics Research Programme, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, London School of Economics.
WOOD, A. (1994). North-South trade, employment, and inequality: changing fortunes in a skill-driven world. Oxford [England], Clarendon Press.

Rate this post
Table of Contents