Economic inequality is one of the most divisive issues of our time. In this article, Harry Frankfurt, one of the most influential moral philosophers in the world, argues that we are morally obligated to eliminate poverty – not achieve equality or reduce inequality, and how focusing instead on inequality is distracting and alienating.
There is very considerable discussion nowadays about the increasingly conspicuous discrepancy between the incomes of wealthier Americans and the incomes of those Americans who are less wealthy. President Obama has declared, indeed, that income inequality is the greatest political challenge of our time. But what is so awful about economic inequality? Why should we have the great concern, urged upon us by so many politicians and other public figures, about the increasingly large gap between the incomes of the richest people in our country and the incomes of those who are less affluent?