Blogs and Think Pieces
Economic and social inequalities have grown within and between countries over recent decades, with the growing divide between the privileged and the rest fracturing society in new and more dramatic ways. In a context where governments have agreed to redouble efforts to address inequalities as part of their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, this introductory think piece to the UNRISD series Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization raises questions around the drivers and consequences of inequalities, and how people, communities, social relationships and institutions are shifting, adapting and innovating in response to them.
Desde 2003 se implementaron en Argentina programas de generación de cooperativas como estrategia de inclusión por el trabajo. Este ensayo analiza las potencialidades de estos programas y explora qué sucede cuando se les elimina, como ocurrió luego del cambio de gobierno en 2015. La nueva orientación de política pública debilitó el apoyo al trabajo cooperativo y favoreció la concentración de poder, derivada de la unificación de la elite política y económica. El reemplazo de cooperativas por transferencias de ingresos rompe con los espacios colectivos de trabajo y contribuye a profundizar desigualdades, mediante la individualización y asistencialización de las intervenciones sobre el desempleo y la pobreza.
Could social policies to redistribute wealth and shore up democracy be in the interests of powerful and wealthy elites? According to interdisciplinary research, the answer is yes, as inequality entails several negative consequences that affect elite security. Yet as inequality increases, we are not seeing many changes in elites’ largely negative attitudes to such policies. This think piece argues that the way elites perceive inequality, not their actual material interest, is getting in the way of progress.
For technology to have a transformative effect on human relations, we must be far more mindful of who builds it, for what purposes, and what kinds of power and privilege are embedded within it. This think piece looks at a case study in South Africa where technology and harms to rights went hand in hand.
Le fonctionnement du monde académique et la production des connaissances scientifiques peuvent expliquer la persistance, voire l’aggravation des inégalités sociales. Pour comprendre ce constat, il faut au préalable rappeler que les inégalités sociales ont des répercussions dans le domaine de la connaissance. Lutter contre les inégalités sociales passe donc irrémédiablement par une réduction des inégalités dans la production des connaissances scientifiques et par l’instauration d’une véritable écologie des savoirs, c’est-à-dire de rapports justes entre les savoirs. Les recherches qui associent les groupes qui subissent les inégalités à la production des connaissances jouent, de ce point de vue, un rôle significatif.
According to the IPCC, we need to take urgent and effective action on climate change to prevent irreversible damage to our planet and its ability to sustain us. What is it that stops a critical mass of people from coming together to advocate for environmental and social justice, as well as to make personal choices that will benefit the environment? Karen Bell explores the notion of environmental classism, or how divisions between different social classes undermine a sense of common purpose, and how to ensure that working-class people can be better included in the transition to sustainability.
Personal wealth is very concentrated in small economic elites: according to the Credit Suisse 2017 Global Wealth Report, those with net wealth over USD 1 million represent nearly one percent of the total adult population but own an overwhelming 46 percent of the world’s personal wealth. So where do the very rich place their assets and where do they choose to reside? This think piece considers three factors which influence their decisions and suggests that fair taxation and regulation may be part of the solution to this damaging concentration of extreme wealth.
Community development is often thought to be about “sitting under the mango tree” together, but if we want to make it work really effectively for marginalized people, we need to think bigger. This is the premise of this think piece, which argues that a multi-level community development framework is needed which scales grassroots social innovations up and across levels of intervention. Two examples from South Africa and Uganda show how multi-level community work has served to reduce inequalities in access to land and protection of the commons.
The popular view holds that, when it comes to new technologies, law either dawdles or moves too soon. This think piece argues that we should see law differently and that if we want to govern technology wisely, legal literacy is as important as scientific and digital literacy.
Artificial intelligence is affecting our human rights, in positive and negative ways. And particularly so when it comes to privacy. As states and businesses increasingly use big data analytics and artificial intelligence to obtain fine-grained information about people’s lives, this think piece asks what human rights violations can ensue, and how legal frameworks could protect our human rights in the age of AI.