The virtual world, as we like to call it is not separate from the material world we live in, rather it is a part or extension of our world. In order to research the inequalities in the virtual community, the inequalities that existed prior to the digital world must also be looked at and reflected upon. I am leaning towards a slightly social determinist viewpoint as I write this, as the digital world has been affected by those who use it.
Global inequality is the is the uneven distribution of resources among individuals or groups based on their position in the global hierarchy. There are theories about why inequality exists, particularly ones that focus on its globalization, and I will be looking at a few of the predominant ones in my next blog post to see whether it has had any carry on effect into the digital world (and arguing from a somewhat social determinist stand, I would postulate that it does). One question the search for existence of inequality raises is to do with the natural state:
Has inequality always existed, is it the natural state? Can complete equality ever be achieved? The spatial distribution of natural resources would indicate that it has (diagram below is of natural mineral distribution)
The natural inequality in resource distribution whether its due to climate, terrain or any other naturally occurring factor affects human population distribution, economic activities, trade, conflict and/or war, wealth and quality of life (a brief but informative article linking natural inequality in resources to economic and social activities can be found here).
Trading activities in natural resources result in inequality as your geographical location determines the abundance (or lack thereof) of resources which you can use to better your personal or collective wealth- ie. Australia has large coal and gold deposits whereas countries in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and Oman are known for the petroleum and natural gas reserves while other regions have very little natural resources to draw back on.