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Global Inequality

Is it possible for everyone to live a good life within our planet’s limits?

Daniel O’Neill writes: If everyone on Earth were to lead a good life within our planet’s sustainability limits, the level of resources used to meet basic needs would have to be reduced by a factor of two to six times. These are the sobering findings of our research, recently published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Why we can no longer shrink from the most urgent conversation on the planet

Richard Heinberg writes: Many problems are converging at once because society is a complex system, and the challenges we have been discussing are aspects of a systemic crisis. A useful way to frame an integrated understanding of the 21st century survival challenge is this: we humans have overshot Earth’s long-term carrying capacity for our species.

British Raj to Billionaire Raj: India’s inequality is now worse than in 1922

India’s income inequality in 2017 may be worse than what it was during the British Raj. According to a new paper titled ‘Indian income inequality, 1922-2014: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?’ penned by renowned economists Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel, India witnessed a sharp rise in the incomes of top 1 per cent post 1980s.

Understanding the world’s economy-energy conundrum as a video game

Gail Tverberg writes: World leaders manipulate the world economy like a giant video game. The object is to keep it growing, but what do they do when the economy hits limits? They could take their foot off the throttle operated by low interest-rates and more debt. Or they could “take the wings off” the economy.

Incredible India? GDP is growing, yet hunger getting worse

From Down to Earth: GDP does not reveal the ground truth about progress in development. The top 10% of Indians control the wealth basket while the common people—more than one billion—slide down along ‘Hunger Index’. While the government flaunts a surging economy, prevalence of hunger in India is at the “high end of serious category”.

Credit Suisse report: World’s richest 1% of own half of global wealth

The world’s top 1 percent held 45.5 percent of all household wealth in 2000. Now, they hold 50.1 percent, according to research by Credit Suisse. The Mukesh Ambani family, the only Indian family in Asia’s top 10 families, is also the richest in the continent, as its net worth rose $19 billion to $44.8 billion.

In the eye of Hurricane Irma lie the fingerprints of global warming – and inequality

From The Wire: The recent hurricanes have made some raise an obvious question: to what extent does global warming have a role to play? To which I would add one voiced less frequently: why should those least responsible for global warming have to constantly face its effects? And what does it bode for the future?

New report ranks India near the bottom of the global heap on inequality

Huffington Post reports: India ranks 132nd out of 152 countries on a new index that measures the commitment by a country towards reducing inequality. The index is composed of 21 data points with varying weights; including health and education, share of tax revenue in the GDP, share of tax exemptions, minimum wage and maternity benefits.

What tames inequality? Violence and mayhem, says new book

From Chronicle.com: In his new book, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, Stanford University professor Walter Scheidel puts forth the following thesis: that historically, it took four kinds of violent ruptures  –mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolution, state failure, and lethal pandemics– to reduce widespread inequality.

Mapped: How the West massively outsources carbon emissions to the rest

Carbon Brief reports: A startling 22% of global CO2 emissions stem from the production of goods that are consumed in a different country. However, traditional inventories do not include emissions associated with imports. While Western countries have reduced domestic emissions recently, some of this reduction has been offset by increasing imports from countries like China.

Now five men own almost as much wealth as half the world’s population

From AlterNet: Last year it was eight men, then down to six, and now almost five. The world’s richest five men now own over $400 billion in wealth. On average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people. The super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow.

Are we about to witness the most unequal societies in history?

Best-selling author and historian Yuval Noah Harari writes: As we enter the post-industrial world, the masses are becoming redundant.  Biotechnology and the rise of Artificial Intelligence may split humankind into a small class of ‘superhumans’ and a huge underclass of ‘useless’ people. Once the masses lose their economic and political power, inequality could spiral alarmingly.

Avijit Pathak: I’m not a Marxist, but I’m grateful for Marx

Karl Marx was possibly the founder of the most appealing secular religion in modern times. On his birth anniversary I hear a call from within; I feel like paying homage to the prophet of modern times. Though I’m not a Marxist, the oceanic currents in his thinking continue to fascinate students and wanderers like me.

‘India has world’s best anti-slavery laws’ (and largest number of slaves)

IndiaSpend reports: Nearly 46 million people live under conditions of slavery across the world, with 18 million (39%) of those in India, home to the world’s largest number of slaves, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index. They have lost their freedom by way of bonded and domestic labour and sexual slavery, among other means.

Rutger Bregman: Wealth isn’t created at the top; it’s only devoured there

Now, we may disagree about the extent to which success deserves to be rewarded–but virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top. In reality, it is precisely the other way around. This is one of the biggest taboos of our times– the truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state.

Herman Daly: Thoughts on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si

The pioneering American economist who helped found the discipline of Ecological Economics, and presently a leading theorist of ‘steady-state economics’, muses on Pope Francis’ ground-breaking encyclical on environment and justice. “At a minimum, he’s given us a more truthful, informed, and courageous analysis of the environmental and moral crisis than have our secular political leaders.”

Amitav Ghosh: What nutmeg can tell us about globalisation

From The New York Times: …It is impossible to imagine a world without global connections: They have always existed, and no place has escaped their formative influence. But this does not mean that there is any inherent merit in interconnectedness, which has always been accompanied by violence, deepening inequalities and the large-scale destruction of communities.

Stephen Hawking: This is the most dangerous time for our planet

We face awesome global environmental challenges. Climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans. Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity… Now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together.

The richest 1% of Indians now own 58.4% of the country’s wealth

Live Mint reports: The richest 1% of Indians now own 58.4% of the country’s wealth, according to the latest data on global wealth from Switzerland based Credit Suisse Group AG. In the last two years, the share of the top 1% has increased at a cracking pace, from 49% in 2014 to 58.4% in 2016.

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