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UUJEC Issues & Actions Blog

New Report by Chuck Collins: Reversing Inequality

Aug 14 2017

UUJEC's longtime friend and Advisory Board Member Chuck Collins has released a compelling new report we're proudly sharing with you. Chuck will also be joining us for a webinar to discuss his report and how we can work toward a more equitable economy. Stay tuned for developments from our mailing list. 

REVERSING INEQUALITY: Unleashing the Transformative Potential of an Equitable Economy

By Chuck Collins, in Partnership with The Next System Project & The Institute For Policy Studies

Reversing Inequality: Quick Takeaways

Reversing Inequality: Executive Summary

REVERSING INEQUALITY: Unleashing the Transformative Potential of an Equitable Economy 

Full Report

Introduction

The US economy’s deep systemic inequalities of income, wealth, power, and opportunity are part of global inequality trends, but US-style capitalism and public policy make inequalities more acute. Their observable and felt harm to our civic and economic life is corroborated by research from many disciplines. Yet, by the same token, moving toward a more egalitarian society would realign most aspects of economic and social life for the better. So how can we bring these changes about?

For starters, we must know what we are up against. These inequalities do not spring mainly from technological change and globalization, though both compound and complicate the rift. Instead, imbalances of power and agency embedded in our political and economic system are the main drivers and accelerators of inequality.

​​​​​​Imbalances of power and agency embedded in our political and economic system are the main drivers and accelerators of inequality.

Reducing inequality requires a “next systems” analysis and playbook. Here, we briefly examine our current inequality predicament and show how these inequalities undermine our democracy, economic stability, social cohesion, and other cherished values. We then explore the systemic causes, perpetuators, and superchargers of inequalities and, finally, evaluate policy interventions and pressure points for leveling them.

The path through this thicket is only partly uncharted. The United States can learn from other advanced industrial countries with significantly less inequality, adapting policies and practices to US needs and circumstances. We can also learn from our own history—from understanding that our rigged rules have been racially biased—to how we dramatically reduced inequality between 1940 and 1975.

That said, part of the path is uncharted. Grappling with climate change and other breached ecological boundaries—whether ocean acidification, fresh water contamination, or methane dumping—intensifies the challenges of reducing extreme inequality. And many of the New Deal and post-World War II policies that reduced inequality for earlier generations won’t work now given today’s levels of population, resource consumption, and ecological risk.

Together, the extent and widely felt effects of inequality challenge us to put a fine-tuned combination of historical insights, policy innovations, best practices, and fresh thinking to the test. Just as urgently, we also need a vision of a more equal and opportunity-rich society.

For the full report and more information, please visit: https://thenextsystem.org/inequality  

 


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