The issue of the growing gap between the rich and the poor is the theme of the 2013 movie Elysium. Despite the movie’s many failures, it does bring up an important issue. According to Rick Searle writing for ieet.org:
The immoral potential implicit in this gap confronts us directly, even if on simplistic terms, in the film Elysium where in the year 2154 the majority of humanity lives on a planet (the Earth) of want, social breakdown and violence when a minority lives in a transhumanist paradise in space (Elysium) where there is no disease, poverty or war.
Searle arguments are directed at transhumanists (or uber-technologists with an interest in life extension). He goes on to write:
Part of the moral dilemma any transhumanist has to face is the sheer, and often unacknowledged gap, between transhumanist goals and the actual conditions of the large numbers of humanity. Transhumanists in large measure have objectives such as the obtainment of biological immortality when the average life expectancy in a country like Sierra Leone is 46. Talk of technologically supercharged humanity rings hollow when 2.6 billion humans beings lack toilets. If these disparities are not addressed and our global environmental and political problems are not solved, we will likely have more explosions like the recent one in Egypt which is as much a crisis of population density, energy, food and water scarcity as it is a secular vs. religious conflict.
So while the technologies espoused by transhumanists are coming (in one form or another), it is important to insure they are universally available. One way to do this is through enhanced social mobility.
Fareed Zakaria, writing in the Washington Post, says “cities with strong families, civic support groups and a community-service orientation do well on social and economic mobility.” He notes that this is “why Salt Lake City–dominated by Mormons–has mobility levels that compare with” countries in northern Europe that “do better at moving poor people up the ladder than the United States does.” And Zakaria emphasizes that Latter-day Saints consider it a religious duty to help their neighbors.
But churches like the LDS Church are finding many of their new members below the equator in developing countries. So suddenly the demographic makeup of these churches is changing. The description “neighbors” starts to take on a whole new meaning. And as the world grows smaller (thanks to technological innovations), our potential to help our global neighbors expands.
Perhaps this is an area where transhumanist (largely viewed as atheists or agnostics) can gain from religionists who are sincerely interested in helping to narrow the opportunity gap between the rich and the poor.