More than half of New Zealanders appreciate impacts of inequality

In the ‘about‘ page on this blog I say:

Basically I think that inequality is an actual thing, and the idea that ‘to be successful you just need to work really hard’ perpetuates it – it serves those already in high status positions.

So I was heartened to read Gavin White’s latest blog post Does everyone have the same opportunities to succeed?

Question and results:

Which of these statements best describe your views on whether children from low income families can succeed in New Zealand?

  • 42% – Any child born in New Zealand can succeed through education and hard work
  • 53% – Those born in lower income families can succeed but have much less chance than those born in better off families
  • 5% – Children from lower income families have very little chance of success

Gavin goes on to describe some of the interesting sub-group differences. These include (quoting directly from Gavin here):

  • 45% of ‘rich’ people believe that ‘any child in New Zealand can succeed through education and hard work’, compared with 36% of ‘poor’ people.
  • The numbers choosing the middle option (‘children from lower income families can succeed but have much less chance’) are about even (52% ‘rich’; 54% ‘poor’)
  • 3% of ‘rich’ people think children from lower income families have very little chance of success, compared with 10% of the ‘poor’.
  • 61% of National voters think that ‘any child in New Zealand can succeed through education and hard work’, compared with 24% of Labour voters and 22% of Green voters.

I’ve noticed lately that when people discuss inequality, they will often discuss it in financial terms, and they will sometimes talk about it at an individual rather that group level (eg, so and so is paid x, whereas % of their employees are on minimum wage).

I don’t really have a big issue with a CEO receiving an enormous salary if that’s what they are worth to the organisation. I have a big issue if most of those CEOs are Pakeha men – a system producing this has more problems to address than salary and wage levels.

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