The Plight of Inequality
by Art Purcaro O.S.A.
(This article appeared in the OSA-U.N. News Bulletin No. 14, which was released on 14th November 2005. For inclusion here, it has been slightly edited.)
The International Development Report of the United Nations Organisation for 2005 considers that most of the world is caught in a plight of inequality: the world is definitely less equal than ten years ago.
The International Forum for Social Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations met in New York on 5th-6th October 2005 to present its annual report, which focused on inequality in the world.
I find this report very appropriate for our Augustinian celebration of the International Day of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because of its leitmotiv: the systematic violation of humanity’s fundamental rights in the world.
The report is centred on the abyss existing between formal and informal economy; on the growing breach between qualified and unqualified workers; on the increasing inequalities regarding health, education, and opportunities for an active participation in social, economic and political life.
Kofi Annan, the Secretary_General of the U.N. said about this report: "By detailing some of the most critical issues affecting social development today, the report can help guide decisive action to build a more secure and prosperous world in which people are better able to enjoy their fundamental human rights and freedoms. Overcoming the inequality predicament is an essential element of this quest"
The following are some of the main elements of this report that can be useful for this international celebration supported by the Order:
* Regarding the different approaches stating that economic growth is a panacea for development problems, the report indicates that the insistence on economic growth and on the generation of revenue is not able to perceive, or to pay attention to the constant transmission of poverty from generation to generation. This insistence can lead, on the contrary, to the accumulation of wealth in a few hands, deepening the poverty of many. Actually, in spite of the considerable economic growth in many regions, the world is less equal than it was 10 years ago.
* Another fact is the inequality between nations, and the evident fact that globalisation has come to play an important role in this sense. These inequalities are having negative consequences in many areas, such as employment, work stability and salaries. However, there is still an open debate regarding the specific influence of economic liberty and of liberalisation of economic policies on these tendencies.
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