ONE issue most modern capitalist economies face is an overly competitive society, with distinct winners and losers in the economic battle.

Economic theory, founded on the principle of utilitarianism, states that society will eventually benefit from growth and creative destruction.

Underpinning this theory is an assumption that winners can support and help the losers so that everyone can benefit.

However, in reality, successful people tend to alienate and forget people who are less successful than themselves (“The hero is the one who stays home”; last Wednesday).

This creates a sense of injustice, as evidenced by the cries from ordinary folk for more equality and greater social mobility. In extreme cases, some would turn into radicals “in order to gain the respect they feel they have been cheated of”.

This is precisely what extremist propaganda targets.

This trend will only grow, unless societies can be less harsh to less successful people.

We are all human beings, regardless of status, race, gender and culture.

Only after we realise that even beggars on the street need to be respected can we be a more inclusive society.

Aaron Tay Shu Ming

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