Costs of Inequality and Exclusion

Publication: Analysis

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.

Even problems such as obesity, anxiety, and teen pregnancy are found to be amplified by inequality and exclusion. Yet the most fundamental argument against inequality and exclusion will always remain a moral one. Entrenched socio-economic division infringes upon human dignity. A fair society demands respect for human rights and the opportunity for participation and personal fulfillment. Nevertheless, this brief lays out an array of tangible costs to show that inequality is damaging not only on normative, but also social and economic grounds. This brief looks at issues such as:

  • Inequality and exclusion are central political problems today
  • Inequality has a strong territorial dimension
  • Health-related problems are compounded by inequality and exclusion
  • Everyone is less safe in unequal societies
  • Vertical income inequality stunts economic development
  • Gender inequality and exclusion hurts the economy
  • Excluding ethnic groups lowers potential GDP

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