In the last several decades, inequalities of wealth and income within many countries (especially, though not only, 'developed' countries) have been increasing, even as aggregate income and wealth gaps between countries have been tending to decrease somewhat (though still leaving wide disparities). Within-country inequality has reached a point where it has now become an issue in, to take one of many possible examples, the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
Is inequality of income and wealth objectionable because it produces other harms, or at a certain level is there something intrinsically objectionable about extreme inequality, irrespective of any possible consequences? Why should people care, say, that, given current trends, the top 1 percent of Americans will soon hold more wealth than the bottom 99 percent (as I have seen asserted): is it because the very wealthy exercise disproportionate political power, thus distorting or nullifying democracy, or is there something inherently offensive and objectionable about the disparities? Similarly, should the extreme disparity between CEO pay and the pay of a median worker be of intrinsic concern? Or, to cite an example from the previous post on Lagos, is the existence of slums in close physical proximity to wealth objectionable in itself, or is it objectionable only or mainly because the basic material needs of those living in the slums are not being met in an economy that is operating well for the upper layer(s) of the population?
Many are probably familiar, either from first-hand experience or from photos, with the phenomenon of upscale houses or apartment buildings built right up against slums in cities in 'developing' countries; by contrast, in cities in 'developed' countries there tends to be more physical distance between poor neighborhoods and affluent ones. (ETA: Of course, one can also find that distance in certain cases in the developing world as well.) Is inequality more morally objectionable when wealth and poverty exist in close physical proximity, or is that simply an aesthetic, for lack of a better word, consideration? Are poor people injured in some additional way by being physically confronted, as it were, on a daily basis by the existence of people who are enormously better off than they are?
More questions. Is it "better" to live in an urban slum than in rural poverty, or does it depend on individual preferences? Is that sort of like asking whether someone would prefer to be executed by injection or by firing squad? Or does it depend on the particular circumstances of each case? (I think probably it does.) The continuing movement of people especially in the developing world from rural to urban areas is well known, but how many move back in the other direction? (I assume rough figures are available for particular countries, but I'm not going to look for them right now.)
In sum, I'm not altogether sure of the answers to many of these questions, but they strike me as worth asking, perhaps especially by those who think of themselves as egalitarians.
ETA/update: See the comment thread for, among other things, a helpful comment by js. on what it means to say that something is "intrinsically" objectionable.