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They may even increase it.

Last year, UK Spectator editor Fraser Nelson noted that he had just finished filming a documentary on how the rich get richer (and the poor don’t). Social media play a role worth noting:

In the digital era, those looking for soulmates can be brutally clear about who need not apply. There are websites like Blues Match, for alumni of Oxbridge and Ivy League universities only. Then come the smartphone apps: Tinder, for straightforward dating, and ‘BeautifulPeople’, where members are kicked out if deemed too ugly. The latest arrival is Luxy, an app for those who don’t want to date anyone who needs to split a bill. Or, to use its own description, ‘Tinder without the poor people.’

And one key value stood out:

Many of the problems have changed depressingly little over the years, in spite of the billions spent in Labour’s battle against poverty. But one inequality was growing faster than any other: that of marriage. For those safely in the top tax bracket, (the cohort which Luxy is targeting) nine in ten new parents are married. For those on minimum wage or less, it’s about half.

Charles Murray noted a similar family pattern for the United States in Coming Apart.

As Nelson puts it, a teen in Britain today is far more likely to have a smartphone than a father in the home. The fact that social media are cheap to own and operate is, in a way, part of the resulting landscape. A teen would be far more aware of the problems of not having up to date social media than of not having a father around.

But teens who do not have a father in the home are likely to be poor and stay that way. Without understanding the nature of the problem.

People trapped in culturally conditioned, long term poverty look for scapegoats—socially acceptable targets for blame. (Usually, the people truly responsible are sheltered, and may even promote scapegoating in their own interests.)

That may partly account for the rise in anti-Semitism, now at highest recorded levels in Britain. Interestingly,

One in five of the incidents were threats or abuse on social media, fuelling claims that Twitter, among others, is not cracking down hard enough on hate-speech.

There are, of course, political and religious issues. But, as a general rule, the rise of social media, especially Twitterstorms, enables people who would not riot to contribute to the digital sports of blaming the scapegoat and the victim.

This won’t be an easy problem to resolve. A troubling issue, identified by Pew Research, is:

When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

So we usually can’t really discuss questions like the marriage gap. If I raised the question in many circles, I would be dubbed the morality fascist. Whereas all I really want to say is, some lifestyles are more economically rewarding than others. Don’t believe me, look into it.

Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...