Every society has richer and poorer elements, although this has not always been related to pay. For example, in the old Soviet Union and the so-called 'Communist Bloc', the civil servants or apparatchiks, did not earn much more than a factory worker, but his or her lifestyle was many fold higher.
However, in most societies, the richest element also holds the most power. Sometimes, they have royal titles like king, queen or lord and sometimes they have civil titles like senator, MP or governor.
In the main, those who have titles around the world, especially the 'old money', do not want change, whereas the heads of industry realise the benefits of having an educated workforce.
These days, in industrialised societies, it is an educated workforce that makes a country wealthy, not the landowners and their farm labourers.
However, not every wealthy country runs true to these rules, for example, China is wealthy, but it is not a fair society, although no-one would deny the progress that the party has made for the Chinese in just 70 years.
However, old habits die hard and some ruling classes are incapable of seeing the way forward.
For example, Britain, Europe and America has benefitted hugely from industrialisation, yet that would have been impossible without an educated workforce. Industrialisation made industrialists far richer than the merely landed gentry could ever have imagined and in decades rather than generations.
However, there are countries where the holders of power are loathe to educate the 'peasants', because they know that once the genie has been let out of the bottle, there is no way of getting it back in. It requires a huge leap of faith to 'free the serfs' if you are rich anyway.
Why would a group of rich families that has, or can have, everything it wants, risk losing all that just to gamble that they will have even more money that they can't spend anyway, if they educate the masses?
It must be a very scary prospect for them. And anyway, who will bring in the harvest?
The answer is of course, a combine harvester driver and a couple of helpers rather than a village full of serfs with scythes.
The British aristocracy took that leap of faith, albeit reluctantly in many cases, 200 years, but there are still countries with short-sighted rulers who can't see the benefits to all of society that an educated workforce brings.
The real answer to the question: in whose interests is a fairer society is everyone's. Not only the poor's'.
In the book 'Behind The Smile' by Owen Jones, Lek gets into difficulties because of a lack of education, although that was not all the government's fault. The problem in her case was a lack of ambition, a lack of aspiration and a lack of good careers' advice.
Governments have to provide teachers of sufficient ability to inspire their pupils to want to go on and a careers advisor who can point them in the right direction and warn them of the dangers of not educating yourself to your limit.
By Owen Jones
<a target="_blank" href="http://behind-the-smile.org">Behind The Smile</a> : ISBN: 978-1-475-21688-2 : Published by CreateSpace 19-4-2012 : <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Smile-Bargirl-Pattaya-Thailand/dp/1475216882">Paperback and eBook</a>.