How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted inequalities? | Teen Ink

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted inequalities?

February 10, 2022
By SzepesiMor BRONZE, Budapest, Other
SzepesiMor BRONZE, Budapest, Other
2 articles 11 photos 0 comments

COVID has ubiquitously perpetuated wealth and sociological inequalities in society, revealing that in order for these exacerbated imbalances to be alleviated, the pandemic must end.

Due to COVID, wealth inequalities become increasingly more worrisome and apparent. As people spent their disposable income excessively on such products as dozens of rolls of toilet paper, mountains of instant noodles, and seas of rice, the world entered lockdown. As a consequence, many low-skilled workers lost their jobs while the upper-classes capitalized on new business opportunities, such as investing in the aforementioned firms that produce these necessity goods like buying Nissin Food -- a ramen producer’s -- stock. According to Sarah Anderson -- an academic researcher of various international economic issues who also directs the Global Economy Project -- while now lacking the basic funds to buy necessities, an unavoidable “recession [...] hit low-income workers” while -- in utter juxtaposition -- “billionaires [saw] their fortunes expand” (Anderson). Lower-class workers -- naturally, those who desperately need money to survive -- are the most vulnerable to downsizing and being left without a stable income; unless COVID ends, poor people will remain dependent upon selfish corporations and greedy billionaires for their livelihoods, and the longer the pandemic lasts, the greater the wealth gap will grow. Is this fair? Yet, even if the lower classes are able to secure employment, it is highly unlikely that these are safe jobs. Affluent people have “much more flexibility to work from home, lowering their exposure” to the lethal virus while the less skilled, financially marginalized proletariat does not have the luxury to do so. Not only are wealthier people able to retain their jobs and drastically grow their wealth by exploiting the lower classes to perpetuate financial inequalities, but they are also able to do so without exposure to the virus (Anderson). Is this fair? Is it not ironic that the poor need to work to financially survive and yet they have to risk their lives by working -- unsafely -- in person to make more money for the rich? COVID aggressively thrusts the lower socioeconomic class into an endless cycle of financial ruin and life-threatening danger, and unless COVID ends, wealth inequalities will continue to expand. Is this fair?

In tandem, as wealth inequalities soar, racial imbalances towards minorities also enlarge due to COVID. The pandemic sheds an introspective light on systemic racial injustices in society which become painfully clear as COVID spreads. As a result of decades-long racial segregation in America, historically black neighborhoods have weaker healthcare systems than regions that are predominantly white. Hence, the pandemic does not impact racial groups equally; “Black Americans have mortality rates that are significantly higher than all other races” for COVID-related hospitalizations (Anderson). Is this fair? Unsurprisingly, not only are racial minorities more exposed to COVID-induced economic hardships but they die more often than their racially privileged -- white -- counterparts. Is this fair? If COVID does not end, deeply-rooted racism will not be eradicated, but rather, cultivated. While an idealistic vision of society -- perpetuated by the false notion of the American Dream’s ‘work-hard-become-rich’ mentality -- would suggest that people of color will persevere through this hardship. Yet, dismally, as women of color experience “racial discrimination in hiring and layoffs,” they are the “​​most likely to have [stop] looking for work” as they realize the difficulty of finding a safe job (Anderson). People who have been marginalized racially by COVID are falling into an inescapable deep economic trench as the intersectionality of their social class, race, and gender prohibit them from finding safe working opportunities; Despite their desperation, unless COVID ends, people of color will potentially lose the motivation to work or to fight for their survival. Is this fair?

If COVID does not cease to exist, there is a grave danger that the poor will stay poor, the rich will stay rich, minorities will stay marginalized, and cacophonous inequalities will thrive. Is this fair?






Works Cited

Anderson, Sarah. “Get the Facts on Inequality and Covid-19.”, Institute for Policy Studies, 20 Jan. 2022, Accessed 6 Feb. 2022.

The author's comments:

This article looks at the intersectionality of race, gender, and socio-economic class and how COVID-19 has impacted financial/economic inequalities.

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