Growing Inequality as a Threat to Social and Economic Progress

Oxfam international organization recently published a report according to which “the combined wealth of the richest 1 per cent will overtake that of the other 99 per cent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked.”

The same issue has been raised by Thomas Piketty in his “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” – a research nowadays widely discussed worldwide.

The problem of an increasingly unequal distribution of social wealth becomes a matter of concern and analysis of a growing number of economists, political scientists, sociologists and experts on governance. The growing wealth inequality aggravates financial plight of millions, leads to degradation of the social fabric and poses a real risk of social upheavals.

Besides that, the plight of the masses is often used as a means of manipulating with public sentiments, as well as a lever to influence “bad” governments and facilitates interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, which in practice can lead to the so-called “regime change.”

To overcome these disturbing trends we need to elaborate a new approach to the economy. Some of the necessary elements of such an approach could be the following:

- Concentration of efforts on the development of the real economy, which will lead to an increase in long-term employment;

- Ridding of fetish-like attitude to formal indicators of economic growth;

- Real, not just declared strengthening of solidarity within societies and in international relations.

The social dimension of the changes is of key importance including overcoming atomization of society and consumerism in one’s life and first of all in one’s attitude towards other people. It is obvious that any model of economic development without ethical component will inevitably be unsustainable. Rising welfare should not be an end in itself but also a means to improve human dignity.