Social Justice

According to the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER) of the United Nations University, if you own more than US$ 61000 (Rs. 183000) worth of assets, then you are in amongst the richest 10 percent of adults in the world.This study is on personal wealth & house hold wealth.

2 percent of the world richest inhabitants own half of the world’s wealth. Where is the social justice? Where is the equitable distribution of wealth?

Surprisingly, household debt is relatively unimportant in poor countries. As the authors of the study point out: ‘While many poor people in poor countries are in debt, their debts are relatively small in total. This is mainly due to the absence of financial institutions that allow households to incur large mortgage and consumer debts, as is increasingly the situation in rich countries’

Wider goes on to note that ‘many people in high-income countries have negative net worth and—somewhat paradoxically—are among the poorest people in the world in terms of household wealth.’

In his editor’s note Jean Claude de l’Estrac last Sunday mentioned the WIDER study to highlight how difficult the task of ‘democratisation de l’economie’ is hard to achieve. The question would seem to be: let us create wealth before proceeding to a more equitable distribution. “Wealth breeds wealth: poverty breeds poverty” goes the popular wisdom.

Is it possible to work on both score concurrently? The ideal would be to generate wealth whilst planting the seed to a better social justice? Some would argue that you cannot have your cake and eat it! Could we work towards growing the cake so that the slice of each one will be larger?