1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development

Engines of Inequality? Elites, Power and Politics

Date: 7 Nov 2018

Engines of Inequality? Elites, Power and Politics
Opening Event for the UN Conference Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization.

Today, the richest 1% of the population holds half of the world’s wealth. How did we arrive at this alarming state of affairs? What kinds of fractures has this extreme concentration of wealth wrought, be they economic, political, cultural, social, spatial, or environmental? And what space is there for progressive change in a context where those in power act to preserve the systems from which they benefit?

The roundtable will bring together thought leaders, influencers and advocates for change to discuss the growing influence of elite power and the deepening of global inequalities, and what can be done to counteract these trends.


  • Naila Kabeer, London School of Economics
    Naila Kabeer's research and writing interests include gender, poverty, social exclusion, labour markets and livelihoods, social protection and citizenship. Much of her work is focused on South and South East Asia.
  • Saskia Sassen, Columbia University
    Saskia Sassen's research and writing focus on globalization, immigration, global cities, new networked technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions.
  • Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Council of Eminent Persons, Malaysia
    Jomo Kwame Sundaram, an economist known for his unorthodox non-partisan views, is a member of the Council of Eminent Persons advising the Malaysian government on economic and financial matters. His former roles include UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chair in International Studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

Opening Remarks

  • Paul Ladd
    Director, UNRISD
  • Jonas Pontusson
    Professor, University of Geneva


  • Imogen Foulkes
    BBC Geneva Correspondent

No pre-registration is required for this public event.