Rising inequality – the main risk facing the world?
Sounds like some socialists voicing their discontent, doesn’t it. But it’s what world leaders are telling The World Economic Forum. The Economist‘s economics editor, Zanny Minton Beddoes, is of the same opinion. In this short video she explains why rising inequality around the world is rapidly becoming a major headache:
Considering that we last week looked at how to raise productivity and equality, it’s propitious to re-publish this post about inequality. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2013 Report highlights wealth gaps (severe income disparity) as a bigger problem than unsustainable government debt in a survey with over 1,000 leaders. And considering that Oxfam in 2015 concluded that the richest 1 percent of people in the world will soon own as much as the remaining 99% the gap between the haves and havenots is still increasing.
Opinion of world leaders – not “the usual subjects”
It would be different if it was Occupy Wall Street or leftists that lamented inequality. That it’s top leaders of business, finance and government indicates how serious the problem is. As you know, The World Economic Forum network consists of high level leaders. The fact that they are worried should make us worried. More than we are about sovereign debt apparently.
Will democracy decline?
Inequality has widened for decades in two thirds of the rich countries and many emerging economies, including India and China. But the global crisis has made it even more of a problem, not least because of the austerity measures being implemented.
It’s in times like these that democracy declines and autocrats get the opportunity to grab power. When I lived in London, I used to frequently attend seminars at the think tank Chatham House. Their senior research fellow and author Charles Emmerson has written Eve of Disaster, an analysis looking at why 2013 eerily looks like the world of 1913, on the cusp of World War. I am sure you will find interesting and food for thought.
Do you agree with world leaders that rising inequality is the main risk facing our world? If so, what do you think should be done to stop income disparity getting completely out of hand? Should austerity be abolished and economies stimulated to make them grow and hence have a positive impact on inequality? What’s your suggestion? How can we make life better for more people so they spend money and hence improve the world economy? Or are you of the opinion that rising inequality is a good thing and that the leaders telling the WEF it’s the main problem facing the world are wrong?
Video: EconomistMagazine Picture: World Economic Forum