Reducing Inequality: An Essential Step For Development And Wellbeing

Written by Kate Pickett, writing on the Social Europe Journal

This column was first published in the Journal For A Progressive Economy.

Inequality is emerging as a central issue for the post-2015 development agenda and the establishment of the sustainable development goals. Inequalities in income and wealth cause economic instability, a range of health and social problems, and create a roadblock to the adoption of pro-environment strategies and behaviour. Social and economic inequalities tear the social fabric, undermine social cohesion and prevent nations, communities and individuals from flourishing.

The Impact of Inequality

Social and economic inequality increases the power and importance of social hierarchy, status and class.As a result, a long list of problems more common further down the social ladder – in poorer neighbourhoods for instance – are much more common in societies with larger income differences between rich and poor.2-4

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Marking Progress

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-2015 development framework and the sustainable development goals should be to reduce inequality within countries. 42 The frameworks should include a top-level goal to reduce inequalities, including income inequalities in particular. 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.”

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