I found something interesting related to the topic of Inequality. According to an articule that I recently found, researchers that work for the Yale Institute for Network Science (YINS) designed an experiment in which they observed that when people doesn´t know their neighbors´financial status, interaction as well as cooperation among them was far better than when they were aware that a significant gap in wealth between them existed. But not just that. Making inequality visible to the neighbors actually made inequality increase. According to Nicholas A. Christakis, senior author of the study as well as director of YINS, this happened because the rich people ended up exploiting the poor.
According to David Rand, an assistant professor of psycholgy, economics and management at Yale, and also director of Yale´s Human Cooperation Laboratory, most of the experiments concerned with cooperation in the past actually left aside the concept of inequality. He argues that it is of great importance to take this idea into account, since human societies tend to be very unequal.
In general terms, the conducted experiments consisted of a series of cooperation games among multiple players. Participants were given unequal initial endowments. Then, they were allowed to interact in order to change the relative wealth of all the people involved. As stated before, making inequality visible among the subjects made them less eager to cooperate. Also, social networks were affected, since their level of interconnection were reduced, and the overall level of wealth declined.
The researches argued that making gaps in wealth visible might set off psychological as well as neurological processes that end up reducing social cooperation. For example, people might start to think of financial status as some sort of competition.
I think this study is quite interesting and I hope many of you are encouraged to read more about it. You can access to the link I reviewed at the bottom of this post. Hope you find it useful!