Consequences and Futures of Inequalities (an introduction to Part II)

Inequalities matter for many reasons. To some, inequalities – especially the extreme examples we see across the world – are intrinsic issues of fairness and social justice. For others, they are important because of their consequences for the critical global issues of our times, for the voice and inclusion of particular groups, and for the well-being of societies as a whole.

As is shown throughout this report, these inequalities are not only economic. They have social, cultural, spatial, environmental, political and knowledge dimensions. The rapid rise of these multiple forms of inequality, and the interactions between them, have galvanized new debates on inequality and its consequences among businesses, politicians, civil society and development actors worldwide.

In this section, we explore further how these multiple forms of inequality intersect with one another, with what consequences, and for whom. We turn then to the question, 'What are the consequences of transitions towards greater equality?' Recognising that we live in a world full of uncertainty, we conclude by exploring relatively unknown inequality futures. If we continue on the pathway of growing inequality, what will the consequences be? What are the possibilities of alternative pathways which take us to a fairer world? What will be the critical tipping points along the way?

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John Gaventa

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