According to a new report by the Pew Research Center, nearly one-quarter of Americans– 24 percent– blame inequality in America on laziness.
They think, the main driver of inequality has nothing to do with income inequality or prejudicial hiring practices or education inequality or flat-out racism, they believe that “some [the rich] simply work harder than others [the poor].”
Of the 44 countries included in Pew’s survey, only two —England and Uganda — were equally as unimpressed as Americans with the poor’s working habits. However, in Germany, Israel and Italy, by comparison, only 10 percent, 7 percent, and 3 percent of the population, respectively, said the main reason an income gap persists is because some people work harder than others, reported The Washington Post.And worldwide, only 10 percent of people tie effort to equality; the rest (the other 90 percent) tie it to social structures.
According to Pew, only 24 percent of the Americans believe economic policies are the most important reason for inequality, which is well below the median among all advanced economies (32 percent), including Greece and Spain, where roughly half of the population says inequality is the government’s fault.
So why is America at the top of the list? Why is the country that fought a civil war to abolish slavery and engender greater government responsibility over social structures then, 100 years later, fought through another violent Civil Rights Movement now so hell-bent on believing financial success is the sole and direct result of hard work?
If you think about it, is it no wonder so many feel this way: In a country where capitalism is king, it seems only logical– as flawed as it may be– to see the uber-rich as hard-working and those who are struggling as without aspiration.
And, perhaps, considering that only 1 percent of people in the U.S. hold 40 percent of the wealth, maybe Americans blame themselves for not succeeding?
…Or maybe we’re just confused: Another stark finding from the latest Pew study was that nearly 70 percent of Americans believe the government should do something to help reduce inequality.