What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Kaushik Basu argues that inequality is immoral because it is based on luck. He believes that our society should reflect that fact and not reward luck so much.
• Do you wholly or partially agree with this idea? If we accept this premise to be true, how do we transition to a moral society?
• One possible solution is universal basic income, learn more about building a strong universal basic income program.
Around the world, the effects of alarmingly high economic inequality are spilling over into politics and society. Economic insecurity is a driving force behind violent conflicts in the Middle East and the rise of fascist elements in some European countries, not least Hungary and Poland. Even in older democracies such as the United States, economic marginalization has led to a strengthening of chauvinist and supremacist identities and other social problems such as the opioid epidemic.
These trends have been ongoing for some time. But, according to Branko Milanovic of the City University of New York, a big shift occurred between 1988 and 2008. During this period of “high globalization,” the two segments of the world making gains were the wealthiest 1 percent in rich and poor countries and the middle class in a few Asian countries—namely China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Meanwhile, the World Bank has shown that 766 million people —around 10 percent of the global population—were still living below the extreme-poverty threshold of $1.90 per day as of 2013.
Much has been written about the policies needed to rectify this dismal picture. And yet, powerful voices in both rich and developing countries—and, tragically, even among the misinformed poor—claim that current income disparities are fair because they are a result of free markets. Convincing them to support remedial interventions, then, will require a deeper look at the underlying logic and morality of inequality.
Read more about battling inequality on all fronts by Kaushik Basu at Brookings.