Addressing the Social, Economic and Political Dimensions of Inequality

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1 Addressing the Social, Economic and Political Dimensions of Inequality Deborah Rogers, President ; Initiative for Equality (IfE) Affiliated Researcher, Stanford University s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) UN DESA: Social Development and Agenda October 2013

2 Interrelated inequalities Three types of inequalities: Social Economic Political Interrelated each one aggravates the others Becomes a vicious cycle

3 Inequalities are drivers Inequalities drive: poverty mental illness and substance abuse social breakdown violence and conflict economic instability environmental degradation anti-democratic practices

4 What causes inequalities? Paradigm: worldview that sees some people as more deserving than others (often applied ex post facto) Mechanisms: Social structures (prejudice & social exclusion) Economic systems (prioritizes capital & profits) Political approaches (elitist & anti-democratic; protects privilege)

5 Changing the inequality paradigm Cultural shift Within popular culture, academics, religions, hearts & minds Cannot be regulated Already underway

6 Changing social structures Prohibit discrimination against any groups in housing, education, work, health care, access to resources and finances, social opportunities, etc. Prohibit persecution, hate speech, or hate crimes against any groups End illegal status of refugees & migrants; allow people to travel normally Empower marginalized groups to have equitable access to all opportunities and resources Equitable access may include preferential treatment and quotas

7 Changing economic systems Prioritize work & meeting human needs, not capital & profits Progressive taxation and inheritance policies Eliminate illicit flows and tax evasion End subsidies for the wealthy and big business Participatory decision-making in business enterprises (cooperatives; public ownership) Trade agreements, international loans and investments must prioritize meeting human needs Protect workers & trade unions; full employment Social protection floor: food, health care, education, housing, & minimum basic income Growth?

8 Changing political approaches Minimize elite capture of political system Reform campaign finance and process Participatory budgeting Transparency in government practices & spending Eliminate exclusion of poor, socially excluded or marginalized citizens from political influence Overcome corrupt practices Broad participation in all decision-making processes (not just voting)

9 Achieving Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries The goal is not specific, so achievement may become a matter of pick & choose among targets.

10 Achieving Goal 10 Most targets are not measureable. Only two are quantitative: 10.1 By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average 10.c By 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent This does not mean the targets are bad just hard to know if they have been met.

11 Achieving Goal 10 Indicators will be crucial to meeting the spirit of the Goal. Indicators should be geared towards the necessary changes needed to reduce inequalities: Social changes Economic changes Political changes

12 Leveraging through key changes All these changes are important & needed. Broad-based participation in economic and political decision-making gives most leverage. People will protect their own interests if empowered to make decisions. This ends the vicious cycle.

13 Last but not least Accountability is critical to meeting Goal 10 and targets Governments and intergovernmental agencies are accountable to citizens Thus citizens must be able to: monitor progress hold officials accountable

14 Participatory Monitoring & Accountability IfE and other civil society groups are: setting up a global PM&A network designing mechanisms for citizen monitoring developing indicators to monitor developing political approaches to accountability looking for partners to join this global effort seeking funding to implement this plan

15 Participatory Monitoring & Accountability Indicators will be from the perspective of the target communities and citizens Will be more holistic and integrated; e.g. Levels of tension and conflict in communities Happiness, hope, and sense of well-being Economic stability of households Healthy environment Access to financial and natural resources Access to influence in decision-making

16 Thank you! Initiative for Equality (IfE) https://www.initiativeforequality.org/

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