Jessie Edelman: We already know what the problem is

2In my political science class this semester, we are reading The Republic of Plato. The Republic is a dialogue of what happened when the author, Socrates was talking to others about the definition of justice and what a perfect city would be like if they were to start a new one. The men in the conversation are discussing what business and trade would be like in this perfect city. In the dialogue, something comes up called the “Problem of Integration.”

1The Problem of Integration means that a city can not have extremes where its citizens are either really rich or are begging for food. To have a successful city, there must be a community that works together.

With everything I’ve learned from reading The Republic, I am absolutely positive that Plato would not approve of the way the world is today. He warned that economic inequality would cause problems, and he was right.

A man who lived in Athens, Greece 2500 years ago knew what a major problem society would have today with income inequality, which persists in part because people who are wealthy are influencing the politicians who have the power to change it. Politics is influenced by money, so those who don’t have any can’t have as much of a say as the rich. Plato imagined a city where all citizens were equal to each other and all could share their voice.


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