Inequality – Background

Impacts of inequality

From a nation which in the past has prided itself on our classlessness and equity, Australia is now ranked fifth highest among 23 wealthy countries in a measure of financial inequality. This, it seems, is a consequence of global change, new technologies and a lagging educational system.

american-income-inequality (1)As a result of these local and global changes, our growing national wealth is fueling an expanding gap between the 20% of the most wealthy Australians and the 20% of people at the bottom of the wealth ladder. Two recent books “Battlers and Billionaires” by Andrew Leigh and “The Spirit Level: Why equality is better for everyone” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue that inequality is not an inevitable consequence of social progress, as there are several levers available to policy makers to arrest the detrimental changes which have recently been most evident in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia and which have been largely avoided in the Scandinavian countries and Japan.

More on an equitable Australia

Reverend Tim Costello AO, CEO of World Vision Australia, and Ross Gittins, economics editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and economics columnist for The Age jointly delivered the Gavin Mooney Memorial Oration in Melbourne in August 2013 on ‘The case for a more equitable society’. This lecture was presented by the University of Melbourne in partnership with The Australia Institute and is available on video here.

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