Inequality

  • Oil prices are plunging as governments and markets navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With 80% of the global population under some form of lockdown to slow the spread of the virus, demand for fuel has plummeted. As a result, governments have a rare opportunity to tackle a notoriously difficult and politically treacherous topic: phasing out regressive and climate-destructive energy subsidies. These reforms are always challenging to implement: developed and developing countries alike keep trying to do it, only to cave when confronted with protests.
    Publication date:
    Apr 21, 2020
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    oil
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  • A neighbor in her seventies or eighties paused last week when she saw my husband playing in the garden with our four-year old daughter, in the lockdown we now face. She told him that she was on her way to have her one daily cigarette—no doubt medically inadvisable, but why not have a small pleasure now?—and that she was thinking about how the world had changed with “the virus.” And then she said, “you know, I think that there are birds chirping now in Beijing, people can breathe the air better in Rome and Madrid.
    Publication date:
    Mar 23, 2020
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  • 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.
    Publication date:
    Nov 06, 2019
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  • Tackling inequality is not only about getting the policies right, but about getting the politics right so we can put those policies into action. Often the biggest challenge is not that we do not know what to do, but rather that we face powerful lobbies, and powerful myths, that make it hard to pursue effective solutions. The road to tackling inequality is obstructed by two related obstacles: first, concerted pushback from members of the economic elite, and second, the pervasive myth that the economic elite know best what is best for the economy.
    Publication date:
    Oct 08, 2019
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