Is economic inequality a problem?

Paul Johnson

Many societies have become more economically unequal over the last 50 years; the world’s richest 1% now owns nearly 50% of the world’s wealth. What has driven this increase in inequality, and is it actually a problem?

Learn about this Garden Talk

There's an unequal distribution of income and opportunity between different groups in almost every country in the world. In most countries millions live in poverty, millions more are comfortable, some very comfortable, and a few are extremely wealthy. Income inequality has grown in over recent decades, and wealth inequality is heading in the same direction. There are inequalities in education, life chances, health, longevity and political power.

Our instincts tell us that it is morally wrong to allow these kinds of inequalities to exist, but is it a really a problem we can or should solve? Why might it be important for us to reduce income and wealth inequality? And what role does policy have to play in its creation, and potentially its elimination?

Paul Johnson is a man in the know, with a deep understanding of the data. Paul is the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UK's leading economic research institute. He's joining us in The Garden to make sense of how today's economic inequality has arisen, and explore whether we could, or should, do something about it.

Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Paul Johnson

Paul is the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UK's leading economic research institute. He's led policy reviews for the British government, and also sits on its Committee on Climate Change.

Unequal Society Collection

Our societies are becoming more economically unequal, but what can we do about it? Join the director and researchers of the IFS to discuss what needs to be done, and what's possible, to build a better future