Big Issues

For me, there are two big issues which dwarf all other issues: climate change and inequality, national and international.

This latest podcast from the London School of Economics
is an extraordinarily lucid and compelling presentation of the most extreme questions of the second of these two issues. It is a reminder of why inequality is the big question. As philosopher Thomas Pogge reminds us in his introductory remarks, we are the first generation capable of eliminating all extreme poverty. We have the wealth and we have the technical capabilities. What we don’t have is the political institutions. That’s an enormous moral imperative for us.

The really big numbers are just crushing: about half of all human beings live in extreme poverty. All of them are at strongly elevated risk of all kinds of malaise and in general have very bad quality of life. That’s 3.6 billion people living painful and short lives.

And extreme poverty could be ended, paid for, if the top quintile of world population did not receive their gains in inequality for a few years. Not making less money, just not making even more money than the rest.

Edit: sorry, first speaker T Hulme, not Pogge.

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