The inequality debate

Within cities and countries around the world the gap between the rich and the poor is widening in a global trend that some economists have warned will have detrimental effects on society. In the US which has one of the highest levels of inequality in the West, the richest 10% of Americans receive about half of the nation’s income.

In a time when economic growth in many countries is slowing and governments are advocating fiscal austerity, is the question of inequality being factored in to the equation?

Join us as we discuss the problem of inequality globally, and how it can be tackled without hurting economic growth. We will be examining the detrimental effects of inequality of opportunity on social mobility and asking what should be done by governments to counter it.

Chaired by Paddy Coulter, a specialist in media and development with over 25 years professional experience. He is director of communications at the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at Oxford University’s Department of International Development, he previously worked as Director of Studies at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The panel:

Michael Moran is an author, journalist and editor-in-chief of Renaissance Insights, the thought leadership division of the investment bank Renaissance Capital. His book, The Reckoning: Debt, Democracy and the Future of American Power, was released in July in the UK and has just been published in Germany.

Faiza Shaheen is a senior researcher on economic inequality at The New Economics Foundation. She specialises in drivers of economic inequality and the policy changes needed to support a reversal of current levels of inequality in the UK.

Chris Johnes, the Director of Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme, leading work to tackle growing levels of poverty and inequality in England, Wales and Scotland. This year, Oxfam published ‘The Perfect Storm’ report, which assessed the impact of government deficit reduction and warned that we could be returning to levels of inequality in the UK not seen since Victorian times.

Alex Cobham, head of Research at Save the Children, and co-author of their new report Born Equal. He was previously Chief Policy Adviser at Christian Aid, Supernumerary Fellow in Economics at St Anne’s College, Oxford, and a researcher at Queen Elizabeth House (the University of Oxford’s Department of International Development).

Charles M. Sennott is the vice president, executive editor and co-founder of GlobalPost. An award-winning foreign correspondent with 25 years of experience, Sennott has reported on the front lines of wars and insurgencies in at least 15 countries, including the 2011 revolution in Cairo and the Arab Spring.

Picture credit: arindambanerjee /