Why is equality still so elusive, while inequality is seen as normal and almost inevitable? We interview the sharpest economic minds in the world, as they share ideas about what real economic equality might look like - and how to achieve it.
Why is there such a large gap between the richest and the poorest?
Nobel Laureate Robert M. Solow explored why some economies grow much faster than others, and examined why some parts of the world have experienced rapid industrialization while others have seen economic stagnation. Solow argues that there is no economic need for such a sharp contrast between the world’s rich and poor, and firmly believes that economics can be used to improve equality.
Is financial aid the answer?
Foreign aid is an important source of income for many poorer countries, but is it the best way of raising living standards for people living in them? Nobel Laureate Sir Angus S. Deaton, who’s spent a lifetime studying the concerns of the ‘one percent’, says:
Is globalization helping or hindering equality?
The world’s becoming more interconnected, and globalization has increased in recent years.
While there remains a gap between the richest and the poorest, globalization has been good for some developing countries. One of the positives has been the huge numbers of people in countries like China who’re no longer living in poverty.
Nobel Laureate Sir James A. Mirrlees, who lives in Hong Kong, suspects that China will continue on an upward curve:
"I feel pretty sure that urban wages in the big Chinese cities will be comparable with wages in the big (western) cities within the next 50 years."
Can we rewrite the rules of our economy to achieve equality?
Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz says there’s no easy overnight way to do this. But he also says that if we wrote the rules to make the economy more unequal, we should be able to rewrite them to make them more equal.
Can you make a difference personally?
Equality can seem like too big an issue to do anything about on a personal level. But our Life’s Questions series looks at how with the right investments people can actually make a difference to the environment and society, because we think it's possible to do good and still do well.