Visiting professor speaks on wealth and inequality


Poverty, not wealth inequality, is the real economic issue that needs to be addressed, and maybe not by the government, said a professor of economics on Monday in Egan Hall.

Mark Hendrickson, who holds a doctorates in economics, is an adjunct professor of economics and social policy at Grove City College. He addressed Franciscan University students and faculty in a lecture on the significance of the wealth inequality in America. From the beginning he stated that he believed poverty to be a bigger issue than inequality.

“Poverty is the enemy and we need to find effective ways to fight it,” Hendrickson said.

Inequality is part of human nature, he said, because humans naturally desire some goods and services more than others. The more desirable, whether it be a company, a product or an entertainer makes more money because it appeals to more consumers.

This leads to wealth inequality and, Hendrickson said, there is nothing wrong with it if was come by honestly.

Honest wealth inequality is simply a matter of one person’s goods being persevered as more valuable by more people than another person’s goods. People should not be forced into buying what they do not want or need for the sake of equity, Hendrickson said.

He said, “We are all different and that is the natural order of things.”

The real issue is poverty because it is an injustice to human dignity that wealth inequality is not, he said. A richer “one percent” would not be a problem if everyone had the ability to provide for themselves and their families. Because of this it does not make sense to take more money from the rich to give to the impoverished in order to narrow the wealth gap, as this is treating the symptom, rather than the cause, Hendrickson concluded.

Fighting poverty has to start by addressing its clear causes, such as minimal education and unemployment, Hendrickson said. He went on to say that this cannot be addressed by the government, but rather must be part of a social change that encourages young people to stay in school and search for jobs.

American government has made a great effort in its war on poverty, but a misdirected one, said Hendrickson. It would be more effective, he said, if it removed legislation on new businesses and allowed them to create new jobs.