As described in Chapter 6 of Paul Farmer’s book, Pathologies of Power, healthcare inequality in the United States has been justified in many ways, including under the guise of “freedom of choice.” The fact that capitalism “does not impose a moral duty to help” is evidenced by the healthcare system of the United States. Individual people and certain groups are prone to being left out of having access to adequate care. Their social positions and economic statuses are reinforced by institutionalized mechanisms of inequality as described in the chapter. Income inequality has risen as the gap between the very rich and the very poor continue to widen. Now, even the disparity between the moderately wealthy and those on the cusp of the poverty line has become more noticeable in these economic times. Despite the political rhetoric of “class warfare” that has been raised recently, income inequality is a very real issue in society today that has tangible consequences. Healthcare is one of the facets in which this issue plays a significant role and there are devastating repercussions for those who do not have access to healthcare in this country.
Unequal access to healthcare is not the only potentially dangerous effect of the disparity of wealth that has continued to rise rapidly. Income inequality and violence are strongly correlated. Countries with more income inequality have higher rates of homicide as well as other violent crimes. This article describes this relationship that has been proven in countries around the world and “persist despite cultural variations.”