In this Occasional Paper Series, experts explore the various causes of deepening inequalities in the current context, their implications for sustainable development, and strategies and mechanisms being employed to reverse them. The papers in this series build off discussions held during the UNRISD International Conference Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization
, held in November 2018.
Inequalities are one of today’s greatest challenges, obstructing poverty reduction and sustainable development. Such disparities are catalysed by elite capture of economic and political power, a reinforcing process that compounds inequality, which—in its various dimensions—undermines social, environmental and economic sustainability, and fuels poverty, insecurity, crime and xenophobia. As the power of elites grows and societal gaps widen, institutions representing the public good and universal values are increasingly disempowered or co-opted, and visions of social justice and equity side-lined. As a result, society is fracturing in ways that are becoming more and more tangible, with the growing divide between the privileged and the rest dramatically rearranging both macro structures and local lifeworlds.
Further papers will be published as they become available.
The conference was carried out with the support of UNRISD institutional funding provided by the governments of Sweden, Switzerland and Finland. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Geneva Office and the International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI) provided direct support to conference participants for their travel and accommodation.