An octopus named INEQUALITY

Octopus (1)

Like an octopus INEQUALITY is an animal with no eyes, even if its devastating may be seen by everyone. Their poisoned tentacles reach millions of people in the world slow and painfully in a way that could not be identified as poverty, but there negative impact on adults and children could be equated to it.

Half of the world wealth is in the hands of 1% of the total population; the other part, 99% lives with the rest. A study done by Oxfam reveals that if this situation persists, the European Union would face 146 millions vulnerable people by 2025[1]. Just in Spain the forecast it´s of 20 millions people, almost 42% of the total population. In Africa six countries are among the top 10 most unequal in the world[2].

Globalization its supposed to be a system that in times of crisis is there to help both developed and developing countries for boosting their economies and facilitate citizen’s access to education and labour market. This was one of the pillars to support the implementation of a global machinery. However, inadequate political-economic policies and the most important: lack of political will and solidarity have lead to more marginalization. Transforming globalization into a “monster” that swept opportunities and tie up countries and people without tackle the real issue of concern: inequality.

Is paramount to work through international organizations that are been created to reduce poverty and boost successful financial and economic systems, making of them reliable and productive tools for growing through creative innovative ideas and investment. Currently there is not a “global system” with a coherent strategy on reducing inequality but isolated efforts more or less connected. For instance, World Bank implement projects that has as a direct contradictory consequence the creation of more inequality. Many projects in Vietnam that aimed to boost electricity, water supplies and expand transport networks have resulted in more than 1.2 million people being displaced. In addition, more than 1 million people in China were displaced by about $12bn of bank investment.”[3]

One of the most important barriers to tackle inequality is that is seen as a simple act of solidarity with social exclude people and not what it really means: a devastating impact on economic growth, hence on sustainable growth. It´s precisely this reason that motivate international organisms like IMF or WB to invest on development projects, and those organisations have the responsibility and commitment to reduce inequality as one of their main goals and mission.

 Economic growth cannot be achieved if there is s growing inequality underlying and as a direct consequence of a substantial fall down in consumption, another important engine of growth. This is what Robert Reich named the “virtuous circle”[4]: prosperity generates more prosperity: indeed productivity grows, wages increase, workers buy more, companies hire more, tax revenues increase, government invests more, workers are better educated, finally economy is expanded.

We could have the certainty that investing in the people works as the best business ever, although not in the sense of class conflict as in the Marxist theory. Inequality is really a hidden poverty that runs beyond ideologies. Many countries implement policies based on innovation and productivity like Norway, Sweden, Netherlands or Germany and are doing it successfully by achieving good levels of productivity, reducing inequality at local level.

Once we face the reality of high rates of child poverty in developed countries as in USA with 42% of children -that will not get out of it in the next years-, or Spain with 35,4% of their children leaving in poverty or under risk of social exclusion; the political-financial message need to change, and we cannot continue blind to this cruel reality that mark future generations in a relentless manner.  Inequality is transformed into a political opportunist speech because of lack of leadership and innovation guided by wrong economic-political decisions.

How many more “Lehman& Brothers” do we need to understand that the financial world needs tremendous changes in order to reduce inequality? How many kids need to be condemned to poverty? How many more people need to see their life’s sink by unemployment and lack of access to health and education?

Let´s act now, by raising awareness among leaders and international financial organizations of the need for an effective global strategy, embracing joint action as the only path to get through this relentless octopus named Inequality.


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