Worker walks along train tracks in Puebla, México. Photo: Juan Pablo Chima Ortiz.
Addressing poverty wages is a core aspect of tackling inequality. So it was an important step forward when, on January 1st this year, Mexico raised its minimum wage from 88.36 pesos to 102.68 pesos (approximately US $5.37) per day. Before this increase, the minimum-wage income was below the official poverty line — and it had been stuck at essentially the same level for over two decades.
In Chile, it was an increase in the price of a metro ticket. In Lebanon, it was a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls. In Ecuador, the match that lit the fire was the cancellation of a long-standing fuel subsidy at the demand of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Throughout the month of October, protesters filled the streets of one capital city after another, from Quito to Santiago to Beirut to Baghdad.
In this new report, Resource Matters and the Congo Research Group tell the story of the negotiations around the world's largest hydroelectric site, the Inga III Dam project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report argues that there is currently no guarantee that the Congolese population will benefit from the electricity generated by the planned power plant.
Inequality and exclusion harm society in a number of ways, ranging from fraying trust in institutions and increasing volatility in politics, to causing economic damage, physical insecurity, and higher rates of crime and suicide. This discussion brief lays out an array of tangible costs to show that inequality is damaging not only on normative, but also social and economic grounds. The areas of analysis include public health problems, impacts on safety and security, and the economic effects of GPD gaps caused by discrimination and unequal opportunity.