The following series of articles will be based on and adapted from an essay I wrote for the NCH Economics Essay Competition 2022 (hence the formal language), answering the question ‘How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted inequalities?’. I was a Finalist in this competition, meaning I was in the top 5% of the 5000+ entrants of the competition, or roughly in the top 250.
In the following articles, I will examine three types of inequalities and assess how the events of the pandemic have affected them and whom they have impacted. I will also explore how the pandemic’s outcome may affect these inequalities in the future.
Wealth inequality is one concept that is often cited when discussing inequality. Determined by the accumulation of valuable assets and resources that are measurable monetarily, wealth is most commonly denoted using net worth. The pandemic has widened the gap in average net worth between different demographics. The discussion will explore the factors leading to this, ranging from over-inflated asset markets to an unprecedented rise in housing prices. A household’s wealth, shown by net worth, can influence their standard of living and, in turn, economic welfare, and so I will use wealth to highlight current economic inequality.
Another form of inequality explored is the difference in education both nationally and globally, which highlights the gap in reading and numerical skills between children in terms of months and years. This rift can affect them further into their careers by falling behind even further, preventing them from accessing higher education and, as a result, limiting the earning potential in their working lives. This can create wealth inequality in years to come, outlining future economic inequality.
The third and final inequality analysed in these articles is inequality in healthcare – the pandemic has highlighted the lack of necessary equipment and capacity in hospitals in deprived areas. More significantly, it introduced a new form of health disparity – vaccine inequality. As vaccines began rolling out, the countries at the very front of the queue were unsurprisingly the most developed, pushing lesser developed countries to the back of the line and years behind on the waiting list. My analysis will observe the roots of health inequality and consider its adverse impacts.
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