More than 1.4 billion people live in poverty so extreme that they can barely survive, and around 25,000 people die from hunger each day whilst a new billionaire is created every second day. The call for a global safety net has never been so urgent - and compels the international community to transform economic priorities and guarantee the universal securing of basic human needs.
The new 'bottom billion' live not in poor countries but in middle-income countries. This calls for a renewed development narrative based on shared responsibility, with a greater focus on inequality, argues Andy Sumner.
If the Millennium Development Goals are to be reached by 2015, development as a concept must be fundamentally revised. New indicators of social progress need to recognise that poverty and wealth are not isolated, but are in fact interdependent phenomena, says a report by Jens Martens.
The wealthiest one per cent of the population presently claim twenty per cent or more of total income. Taxing the rich could help control government deficits, improve economic democracy and curb environmentally destructive consumption, argues Allan Engler.
The UK government is planning to be among the first countries to officially measure happiness, but they fail to realise that the psycho-social
stress of being near the bottom is what makes people unhappier than in
a society that shares more fairly, writes Polly Toynbee.
Since it was first published, The Spirit Level has won
admirers including UK party leaders Ed Miliband and David Cameron, but also provoked
sharp attacks. The book’s authors explain why its ideas about social
equality still have weight. By Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.
It is common for the rich to believe that the distribution of wealth
corresponds to the distribution of intelligence. But as we've seen in recent years, the rich use their
political clout to ensure they do not pay for their
mistakes, which has more to do with indifference to the poor than 'brains', argues Mike Marqusee.
The past 20 years have seen substantial progress in many aspects of human development, but these years have also seen increasing inequality as well as unsustainable trends in production and consumption patterns, according to the Human Development Report 2010.