⌚ Importance Of Inequality

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Importance Of Inequality

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GCSE Maths - What are Inequalities? (Inequalities Part 1) #56

Social and economic inequalities tear the social fabric, undermine social cohesion and prevent nations, communities and individuals from flourishing. Social and economic inequality increases the power and importance of social hierarchy, status and class. Although the impact of inequality tends to be most severe lower down the social ladder, outcomes are worse even among the better off, because inequality damages the whole social fabric of a society — increasing social divisions, status insecurity and status competition. The scale of the differences varies from one health or social problem to another, but they are all between twice as common and ten times as common in more unequal societies compared to more equal ones.

Although in the rich, developed countries, income inequality is related to indicators of health and social wellbeing, levels of average income GDP per capita are not. Reducing inequality is the most important step these countries can take to increase population well-being. In the developing and emerging economies, both greater equality and improvements in standards of living are needed for populations to flourish.

A large and well-established body of evidence shows that very large income differences within countries are damaging. Analyses include both cross-sectional research and studies of changes in income distribution over time. There is a particularly large body of evidence linking greater inequality to worse population health; hundreds of studies show us that life expectancy is longer, and mortality lower, in more equal societies 3 , rates of infant mortality, mental illness and obesity are two to four times higher 4 and, in both developing and developed countries, HIV infection prevalence rises with inequality 14 There is also substantial evidence linking greater equality to better social relationships within societies —levels of social cohesion, including trust and social capital, are higher in more equal countries Inequality wastes human capital and human potential.

The UNICEF Index of Child Wellbeing is significantly higher in more equal societies 28 , educational attainment is higher, fewer young people drop out of education, employment and training, and fewer teenage girls become mothers 4 28 Notably, social mobility is restricted in very unequal societies — equality of opportunity is shaped by equality of outcomes 4 In addition to its impact on health and social outcomes, greater equality is also linked to economic progress and stability. Poverty reduction, and hence development, is compromised by income inequality 31 In rich and poor countries, inequality is strongly correlated with shorter spells of economic expansion and less growth over time 33 34 and with more frequent and more severe boom-and-bust cycles that make economies more volatile and vulnerable to crisis Greater equality has an important role to play in the necessary worldwide transition to sustainable economies.

Inequality drives status competition, which drives personal debt and consumerism 1 and, of course, consumerism is a major threat to sustainability. Stronger community life in more equal societies also means that people are more willing to act for the common good — they recycle more, spend more on foreign aid, score higher on the Global Peace Index 1 , and business leaders in more equal countries rate international environmental agreements more highly Income differences can be reduced via redistribution through taxes and benefits, or by reducing differences in pre-tax incomes. The international evidence suggests that greater equality confers the same benefits on a society whether it is achieved through one of these approaches or the other.

Dealing with tax havens and other methods used by rich individuals and large companies to avoid tax is crucial; the amount of money lost by developing countries to tax havens exceeds all international development aid. In many countries taxation has ceased to be significantly redistributive. Forms of economic democracy, such as employee ownership, employee representation on boards, employee share ownership, mutuals and cooperatives tend to reduce the scale of income inequality and help equality to become more embedded in a society — these are more long-lasting cultural changes than can be achieved through tweaks to the tax code. These forms of business institutions also provide a more stable basis for community life and perform well in ethical terms.

Given all that we now know about the effects of inequality, it seems clear that we should both monitor inequality and commit to realistic but courageous targets to reduce it. A core objective of the post development framework and the sustainable development goals should be to reduce inequality within countries. This should be in addition to disaggregated indicators and targets in every other goal to ensure equitable progress across different social groups towards agreed development objectives. In very unequal societies, the ratio may be as high as seven. Prioritising the need to tackle inequality in this way will ensure that economic and development strategies are truly inclusive and can drive human progress towards sustainability and wellbeing.

The Equality Trust www. Wilkinson RG, Pickett K. London: Penguin, Income inequality and social dysfunction. Annu Rev Sociol ; Income inequality and population health: A review and explanation of the evidence. Soc Sci Med ;62 7 The problems of relative deprivation: Why some societies do better than others. Soc Sci Med ;65 9 Babones SJ. Income inequality and population health: Correlation and causality. Soc Sci Med ;66 7 Subscribe to our free newsletter and get the latest Social Europe content delivered straight to your inbox. Please check your inbox and click on the link in the confirmation email to complete your newsletter subscription.

Has the relation between income inequality and life expectancy disappeared? Evidence from Italy and top industrialised countries. J Epidemiol Community Health ;59 2 Please send corrections, completions, suggestions to kozma cs. I will upload the newest version to this page. CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3. Inequality is important to poverty because the relative position of individuals or households in society is considered an important aspect of their welfare Coudouel et al. There is a tentative consensus in the literature that inequality tends to reduce the pace and durability of growth Ostry et al. Research by the World Bank indicates that when markets are imperfect in credit, insurance, land and human capital , inequalities in power and wealth turn into unequal opportunities, leading to wasted productive potential and to an inefficient allocation of resources World Bank, ; World Bank, Unequal power is found to lead to the formation of institutions that perpetuate inequalities in power, status, and wealth, which typically are also bad for the investment, innovation, and risk-taking that underpin long-term growth World Bank, Recent research suggests that unless inequality is tackled it leads to further and growing economic inequality as gains on capital are greater than those from income Piketty, Inequalities have also been found to undermine social cohesion UNDP, Research indicates that the presence of large horizontal inequalities, which are economic, social, political and cultural status inequalities among salient identity groups, are especially likely to increase the risk of violent conflict Stewart, Inequality undermines social justice and human rights and the interconnectedness of inequalities means some groups have consistently worse opportunities than those of their fellow citizens UNDP, ; World Bank, Among the most common group identities resulting in exclusion are gender, race, caste, ethnicity, religion, region, and disability status, although more evidence is needed World Bank, Even people at the higher end of the income distribution may face social exclusion through political persecution or discrimination based on age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability World Bank, Excluding these groups has had substantial social, political, and economic costs for the groups themselves and wider society World Bank, Partially as a result, there are large differences in the education, health and nutrition of households of different wealth levels within countries UNDP, Inequalities between classes large-scale groupings of people identified according to economic criteria have widened both within and between countries Greig et al.

Class intersects with gender, ethnicity and other identities to compound poverty and inequality Greig et al. An increasing body of evidence indicates that people with disabilities often face inequalities in all areas of life comparatively lower educational attainment, higher unemployment rates, worse living conditions, and higher poverty rates, for example Mitra at al.

People with mental health problems face high rates of physical and sexual abuse, and restrictions in their access to rights, services and livelihoods Cain, In many countries, youth are increasingly disadvantaged in terms of relative income, unemployment, and working poverty UNDESA, The most marginalised are girls and women who are poor, live in remote areas, are disabled, or belong to minority groups World Bank, Some empirical evidence gathered by the International Poverty Centre suggests that developing countries with less gender inequality tend to have lower poverty rates IPC, Inequality also increases the vulnerability of societies and of particular marginalised groups to economic crises and prolongs the time it takes to recover from such crises UNDESA, Research gathered by UNICEF and UN Women indicates that individuals and groups suffering multiple rights deprivations often face inequalities compared to others in society.

Inequality is often intersecting — for example, the social inequality experienced by disadvantaged groups can lead to economic inequality Kabeer, ; UNDESA, There is a lot of overlap between those affected by poverty and those negatively affected by inequality. It is important to recognise and address these group inequalities because they make up a large part of overall and persistent inequalities within countries UNDESA, Inequalities can also have a negative impact on almost all in society.

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