The problem is particularly marked in the United States where misguided economic policies have resulted in half of the country’s population joining the ranks of the working poor. Some toil working two jobs to make ends meet just to keep a roof over their head and some basic sustenance with little to no disposable income to splurge on personal desires. This is in part the result of neoliberalist principles applied on a global scale.
Immigrants now work in the agricultural fields to pick crops or in fast food kitchens doing much of the low wage work that Americans don’t want but those who are choosy are also feeling the pinch as there aren’t enough white-collar jobs to go around. It may sound unfair to say, but not everyone is equally suited to perform jobs that require an elevated level of skill and those who show the most predisposition will claim them.
More economists are now proposing the idea of basic income because it could help with the problem of declining employment. The idea is that you provide the bare necessities of life and if the person desires to supplement them then they can but at least they won’t fall off the grid and end up on government assistance anyway except now with potentially aggravated health issues. Some of that money will need to come from the 1% and, as much as people still want to believe in this fable, there is no such thing as trickle-down economics because corporations are not human beings. They don’t have a social conscience. Some corporate leaders do have a policy where their workers are compensated fairly and even have shares in the company, but these instances are rare. Instead you often have the Walmart models where a menial wage is paid and the employee is sometimes forced to work another job to get by.
America will resist the Northern European liberal democracy models because they see that as government having too big a hand in running the economy, but the reality is that the degree of happiness of the general population of these countries far exceeds that of the United States; unless of course you belong to the American 1%. Its not rocket science to see why these models work: there is a more equitable distribution of wealth and no, these are not communist states.
The US will be forced to act however because as economic disparity worsens, and more people fall to the ranks of the working poor, the danger of societal implosion and revolt will only increase.
Take note that unemployment figures mean nothing here because if someone is employed at $20k a year it doesn't get reflected in disparity numbers. It just shows they have a job and so does that CEO making 10 million a year. It is the gap in income that is important and that has never been worse. It is not a sustainable scenario.
The entire global economy will need to be remade so that we can have a more stable and healthy world population; one that is as free from war as possible.
If you read the principles of Adam Smith who was arguably the father of American economics you will note that he believed in free market capitalism but under the umbrage of social responsibility and not unfettered the way it is today. In his book "The Wealth of Nations" he states:
“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”
"No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable. ”
No kidding Sherlock.